Lacey Spears gets 20 to life in poisoning death of her son

Former Rockland County mother Lacey Spears was sentenced today to 20 years to life in the fatal poisoning of her son Garnett.

A jury found the former Chestnut Ridge woman guilty of killing her son by force-feeding him heavy concentrations of sodium, or salt, through the boy's stomach tube. Prosecutors believe that she did it to gain sympathy from others.

Spears did not take the stand during the trial, but her attorneys argued the evidence did not prove murder. They also tried to put the blame on the boy's doctors.

Spears stood handcuffed during the hearing, which lasted about a half-hour.

Before sentencing, prosecutors said Spears deserved the maximum because her actions were inhumane, despicable and evil.

But Judge Robert Neary said he was not giving the maximum sentence because he believed Spears suffers from Munchausen by proxy, a rare psychological disorder in which a parent purposely sickens a child to gain sympathy and attention.

However, Spears' attorney says Munchausen by proxy was something that was never brought up during the trial.

"There's never been a diagnosis of mental illness, something that's been acknowledged by the court itself, so then to turn to someone who has never been diagnosed or suffers from a mental illness, to say that you should have sought treatment for something you do not have as a diagnosis is a curious comment," says attorney Steve Riebling.

Spears' attorneys have promised an appeal of the conviction.

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