A 39-year-old Florida mother was sentenced to life in prison on Monday after being found guilty of murder for starving her 18-month-old child on a vegan diet.
Shelia O’Leary’s son, Ezra, died on September 27, 2019, after she ignored signs of the toddler struggling to breathe before going to bed. Her husband, Ryan Patrick O’Leary, called 911 to report that the toddler had stopped breathing, and paramedics pronounced the boy dead at the scene, Breitbart News reported in July.
Medical examiners determined that Ezra had not been fed for a week prior to his death. Evidence at the trial determined that the 18-month-old died of malnourishment and dehydration.
The toddler’s diet consisted of raw vegetables, fruits, and breastmilk.
Ezra weighed 18 pounds, the size of a seven-month-old baby, at the time of his death, according to a police report via the Associated Press.
The O’Leary couple also had two other children, ages three and five, who suffered from malnourishment, neglect, and child abuse.
An 11-year-old girl, who was Shelia’s daughter from another relationship, was also discovered but determined not to be in as rough shape due to visiting her biological father in another state where she received a proper diet.
Shelia received multiple other sentences on Monday from her June conviction, including 30 years in prison for aggravated child abuse, 30 years in prison for aggravated manslaughter of a child, and five years in prison on two counts of child neglect and one count of child abuse, according to a press release from the Office of the State Attorney Amira D. Fox.
The mother has been ordered not to have any contact with her other children while in jail.
Her husband is currently awaiting trial for the same charges.
The convicted Florida mother’s sentencing was delayed after initially being scheduled for July 25.
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