, Salem, MA

Local News

April 12, 2011

LaBrie fate in hands of jury

SALEM — Jeremy Fraser couldn't tell anyone what his mother, Kristen LaBrie, was doing to him, prosecutor Kate MacDougall told jurors yesterday. His autism prevented that.

So it was too late by the time Jeremy's doctors discovered that LaBrie had stopped giving him his chemotherapy — at least when no one was watching.

"He was a little boy," said MacDougall in her closing argument to jurors in Lawrence Superior Court. "He was her little boy, and he had an opportunity for a miracle. He had an 85 to 90 percent chance of a cure, and she took that from him. She stole that from her little boy.

"Ladies and gentlemen, that's not a tragic mistake. That's not an accident. That — in every sense of the word — is criminal."

LaBrie, 38, of Salem, is charged with attempted murder, child endangerment and two counts of assault and battery. Her son, Jeremy, died in 2009 at the age of 9.

LaBrie's lawyer, meanwhile, urged jurors to take a different view of the Salem mother.

"Kristen didn't intentionally do this," said Kevin James. "Kristen didn't create this situation. She merely stepped up to the plate, alone, to give Jeremy life.

"She didn't intentionally do this. She was duped. That's what happens when she is told, 'You have to make this beautiful child' — that she cared for from birth — 'you have to give him medications that make him sick.'

"She couldn't do that," James contended. "She had an inability to do that because she loved that child."

James turned the blame instead on Massachusetts General Hospital, on Jeremy's oncologist Dr. Alison Friedmann, on social workers, even on the Stop and Shop pharmacy that made an error filling one of Jeremy's prescriptions (although by then his cancer had already returned).

James called LaBrie's decision "a tragic, tragic mistake" and the charge of attempted murder "absolutely bogus."

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