A jury found a vegan mother guilty of murder for the death of her malnourished 18-month-old son after she fed him only raw vegetables, fruits, and breastmilk.
Shelia O’Leary, a 39-year-old Florida mother, could be sentenced to life in prison after the week-long trial concluded on Tuesday.
O’Leary’s son, Ezra, died in September 2019 from malnutrition complications after she fed him a vegan diet for his short-lived tenure on Earth. Doctors determined that O’Leary had not fed Ezra for one week by the time he died.
O’Leary reportedly ignored her son’s struggles to breathe and instead went to sleep on the day he died.
O’Leary and her husband, who was also charged with murder, called 911 after their son stopped breathing. When paramedics arrived, they pronounced Ezra dead at the scene.
Paramedics conducted examinations of the couple’s three other children and determined that two of them, ages three and five years old, were severely malnourished. The eldest child, 11, was in better health than the others because she has a different father.
As the Daily Mail reported:
Their skin was yellow and one suffered such poor dental hygiene that their teeth were black.
Sheila also has an 11-year-old daughter from a previous relationship and her health was considerably better than that of the other kids.
Police believe it is down to the fact the girl visited her father in a different state regularly, and was given a proper diet there.
Florida prosecutors accused O’Leary of failing to seek proper medical care for her son after he displayed signs of being ill.
“She chose to disregard his cries. She didn’t need a scale to see his bones. She didn’t need a scale to hear his cry.” Assistant State Attorney Sara Miller said during the trial’s closing arguments. “We’re here because their children were starving so much that the youngest starved to death.”
O’Leary’s sentencing will occur on July 25.