LAWRENCE --A 38-year-old Beverly mother was convicted today of attempted murder and other charges for withholding cancer medications from her son, who eventually died from his illness.
Kristen A. LaBrie wept after the verdict was announced in Essex Superior Court, then moved near family members, who were sitting in the front row of the courtroom. "Tell everybody I'm OK, OK? It's going to be OK, OK? I love you, too," she told her sister.
The jury had begun deliberations Monday following closing arguments in which the prosecution said LaBrie had committed a crime by withholding the medications from her son, Jeremy Fraser, while the defense argued that she withheld them because she could no longer bear to see the side effects they were having on her son.
Elizabeth O’Keefe, LaBrie’s younger sister, spoke outside the courthouse moments after the verdicts were read. She said her sister “doesn’t care what other people think about her. She knows what happened. Who cares what other people think?”
When asked what her sister would say today, O’Keefe responded: “That she loved Jeremy and she wishes that she could have done things differently, I’m sure.”FULL ENTRY
Elise Amendola / Pool photo
LAWRENCE -- After deliberating for about five hours and asking the judge for clarification on two key legal issues, the jury in the Kristen LaBrie attempted murder trial went home today without reaching a verdict.
The panel of seven women and five men are due back in Essex Superior Court here tomorrow to resume their conversations about the death of Jeremy Fraser, LaBrie’s autistic son who died when he was nine years old.
LaBrie testified during trial that she refused to provide her son with cancer-fighting medications due to emotional exhaustion and her belief that the prescriptions were causing her son more harm than good.
LaBrie, now 38, faces charges of attempted murder, assault and battery on a disabled person with injury, assault and battery on a child with substantial injury, and reckless endangerment of a child.
She has pleaded not guilty.
Before retiring for the day, the panel asked Superior Court Judge Richard Welch for more details on some key legal issues on two key legal issues: Must a person always provide prescription medications and is choosing not to provide medicine an “overt action’’ that justifies conviction for attempted murder?FULL ENTRY
The former head administrative clerk for Boston's Veterans' Services Department allegedly gambled away thousands of dollars on horse racing at a time when he was also demanding kickbacks from two women he paid as home health care aides for people receiving veteran's benefits.
"This was a very cynical and egregious breach of the public's trust,'' said Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Edward Beagan during the arraignment this morning of Joseph H. Miller on 20 charges, including attempted extortion, larceny, and being a public official making false statements.
Miller, a 12-year veteran of the department, appeared before Magistrate Gary Wilson in Suffolk Superior Court, wearing black jeans and a long-sleeve black shirt.
After each charge was read, he uttered in a soft voice, "not guilty." A grand jury issued an indictment against Miller last Friday and he was held briefly on a $240 cash bail.
Wilson, before increasing the bail to $1,000, called the case troubling and added, "hopefully there are no veterans who have been denied services because of this."FULL ENTRY
LAWRENCE -- Kristen LaBrie, the Beverly mother who is charged with withholding cancer medications from her son, testified today that the boy was "hammered" by the treatment and she feared that the cure was worse than the illness.
"I was really scared he had had it," LaBrie, 38, testified in her attempted murder trial at Essex Superior Court. "I was scared he couldn't go through any more chemotherapy. I felt it could out-villainize the disease."
LaBrie also faces charges of assault and battery on a disabled person with injury, assault and battery on a child with substantial injury, and reckless endangerment of a child. Her son, Jeremy Fraser, died at a hospice in Salem in March 2009.FULL ENTRY
Angie Beaulieu/The Eagle-Tribune/AP
LAWRENCE -- There were two Kristen LaBries, one a devoted mother caring for a sick boy fighting cancer and the other a woman who "seethed with resentment" at the boy's father whom she accused of abandoning them, an Essex County prosecutor said today at the beginning of LaBrie's trial.
Prosecutor Kate MacDougall said LaBrie was responsible for giving her son, Jeremy Fraser, medications for non-Hodgkins lymphoma but failed to do that on numerous occasions. LaBrie "didn't tell anyone she was not giving Jeremy chemotherapy drugs," MacDougall said.
But defense attorney Kevin James said that LaBrie, who lived in Salem, complied with four out of the five phases of treatment. What she didn't know, he said, was that treating him would require making him sick for prolonged periods of time.
LaBrie became fatigued and "her mental strength and objectivity waned,'' James said.
Jeremy Fraser, who was removed form his mother's custody and placed in the care of his father, Eric J. Fraser, died in March 2009 after his father had withheld all medical care based on the recommendations of doctors who said the child's illness could not be halted.FULL ENTRY
Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin today barred a Beverly broker from working in the securities business in Massachusetts, charging him with boosting his commissions by excessively trading on the accounts of the widow of a victim of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Brokers earn fees each time they buy or sell securities. Over the course of two years, James Konaxis, 52, of Beverly, racked up $550,000 in commissions even as the value of the widow's accounts fell by more than half, to $1.6 million from $3.7 million, Galvin charged. The accounts were funded with payments from September 11th Victim Compensation Fund created by Congress following the attacks in 2001.
Also today, the federal Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint against Konaxis in US District Court in Boston, charging him with violating federal securities laws. The complaint seeks repayment of his "ill-gotten gains"; monetary penalties; and his ban from trading in low-priced securities known as penny stocks.
Two Beverly teenagers were ordered held without bail today after their arraignment in Salem District Court on charges that they fatally beat and stabbed a 26-year-old man Thursday night in a Beverly playground.
Sajan Christensen, 18, and Adam Martin, 17, are charged in the slaying of James Vernazzaro.
But Christensen's attorney, Raymond Buso, said, "I fully expect ... that both of the defendants will be exonerated."
Police allege Christensen and Martin beat and stabbed Vernazzaro at Balch Park in Beverly at about 9:20 p.m. Thursday. Police found the victim lying unconscious at the park, with stab wounds to his lower back and upper chest area, Essex County Assistant District Attorney Matthew Hemond said during the arraignment. Witnesses told police Vernazzaro was also hit with a bat, a Beverly police report filed in court said.
Vernazzaro was taken to Beverly Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries at about 9:50 p.m.
A man crashed through a guardrail on the White Fuel Bridge into the Waters River in Danvers after he was distracted by text messaging while driving last night, officials said.
Though a Salem District Court official said a date has not been scheduled, police said Gerald Maher, 22, of Danvers, will be summonsed to court for negligent operation of a motor vehicle and texting while driving.
Maher landed in the river around 11:45 p.m. after he was texting while driving on Route 35 and hit a snowbank, causing him to swerve into the next lane of traffic and crashed completely through the bridge guardrail, said Danvers Police Captain Patrick Ambrose.
“The guardrail was just completely torn off,” he said.FULL ENTRY
The new leader of the Parole Board today said the board will examine the case of convicted murderer Charles W. Doucette Jr., who was serving seven life sentences when he was paroled in 2006 and now faces charges of assaulting his girlfriend on Valentine's Day.
Joshua Wall, whom Governor Deval Patrick has selected to lead the administration’s overhaul of the parole system, was confirmed today by the Governor’s Council on a 5-3 vote. Just hours into his new job, Wall found himself trying to understand what motivated his predecessors when they freed Doucette.
"It's unclear to me whether the board fully considered the horrific facts of the three separate crimes, the defendant's extensive other criminal record and the information and opinions provided by the victims and their surviving family,’’ Wall told the Boston Globe.FULL ENTRY
A suspected gun trafficker and two associates were arrested early this morning in a sting operation after they allegedly plotted to commit a home invasion and robbery of a drug dealer in Malden who was not a legal citizen.
Robert C. Kenney, 56, Christopher P. Littlejohn, 30, and Ramone Arakelow, 34, all from Beverly, were arrested at 4:34 a.m. after they pulled over in a Lowe's parking lot on Route 99 in Saugus to allegedly carry out the crime, State Police said.
But the would-be victim never existed and was just part of a fictitious scenario created by authorities who had been investigating the three men for months. Kenney is suspected of selling seven illegal firearms in the Boston and North Shore areas, State Police said.FULL ENTRY
On the beat
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