A woman accused of withholding cancer treatment from her autistic son by cancelling appointments and not filling prescriptions pleaded not guilty yesterday to an attempted murder charge in the boy’s death.
Kristen LaBrie was ordered held on $15,000 US cash bail during her arraignment yesterday in Salem Superior Court. She did not speak during the brief hearing, except to enter the pleas to attempted murder, child endangerment and other charges. She shook her head as a prosecutor outlined the allegations against her.
LaBrie’s son, Jeremy, had been diagnosed with leukemia in 2006. He was nine when he died in March.
Prosecutors say LaBrie, 37, cancelled appointments for chemotherapy treatment, did not fill at least half her son’s prescriptions and tried to deceive doctors into believing she was giving the boy the proper care.
LaBrie’s attorney, Kevin James, said yesterday LaBrie was a single mother with “severe financial problems” who bore the burden of taking care of her son, who had a serious form of autism.
“She is a victim. She is the mother who takes care of her child,” James said.
LaBrie had earlier been charged with child endangerment; a grand jury returned the more serious indictment Friday.
The boy’s father, Eric Fraser, was divorced from LaBrie. He and LaBrie shared custody of the boy until about a year ago, when she was given full custody. The alleged medication withholding took place while the boy was mostly in LaBrie’s care.