LAWRENCE -- Kristen LaBrie, the Salem mother accused of depriving her son of medication that might have cured his cancer, today testified in her own defense in Essex Superior Court, describing the boy's numerous health problems.
Nervous at first but gaining confidence as she continued, LaBrie said her son, Jeremy Fraser, who died in March 2009, was born small, had a seizure at 10 months, was diagnosed with severe autism at 2, was developmentally delayed, and allergic to many substances.
"He was moody, difficult. He cried a lot. He didn't sleep that well," said LaBrie, who testified for 30 minutes before the trial adjourned for the day. Her testimony is expected to resume Friday.
Earlier in the day, Frederick Krell, a psychologist, testified for the defense that LaBrie, who faces a charge of attempted murder, was not mentally ill, but mentally impaired when she withheld the medicines, because of the struggles of raising a child like Jeremy.
"I think she was depressed, a person who was overwhelmed with having to cope with a significantly impaired child who now had a life-threatening illness," Krell testified.
Fraser was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2006. A doctor testified Tuesday that in 2008 she began to wonder if LaBrie was giving him his cancer medications. Jeremy was removed from his mother's custody and placed in the care of his father and eventually died in 2009.
LaBrie's attorney, Kevin James, acknowledged during his 0opening statements Tuesday that she stopped giving her son the needed medication, but said prosecutors were trying to turn a "tragic mistake" into a crime.
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