Closing arguments will begin Thursday morning in the nearly month-long trial of Lacey Spears, the so-called “mommy blogger” accused last year of poisoning her 5-year-old son with deadly doses of salt. Spears did not testify, leaving the defense with no witnesses to call to the stand.
The testimonies were emotionally charged. Spears shed tears throughout the trial, despite friends and doctors describing the mom as “flat” and “withdrawn” while her son, Garnett, was getting sicker in a hospital days leading up to his death.
Garnett was transported from Nyack Hospital to Westchester Medical Center after doctors found large amounts of sodium in his system. He was pronounced dead on Jan. 23, 2014, from high levels of sodium, which led to swelling in his brain. Spears, 27, was accused of force-feeding her son lethal levels of salt through a stomach tube, and was charged with manslaughter and second degree murder last June. She has pleaded not guilty.
Since Garnett was a baby, Spears took to social media sites Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and a personal blog to share updates on his heath, which led to the nickname ”mommy blogger” across the Internet. She shared photos of Garnett up until his death. The prosecution, who deemed Spears a “calculating child killer,” argued that Spears documented false health updates.
A pediatrician at Nyack Hospital testified that medically there is no reason that Garnett’s sodium level would have been that high — at the time of his death, Garnett had 22 servings of salt — and a pediatric critical care specialist said that the only explanation for a 5-year-old to have ingested that much salt is “by forcing it into some kind of feeding tube,” the Journal News reported. All the medical experts who testified agreed that salt poisoning was the cause of death.
A feeding tube was inserted into Garnett’s body before he was a year old for what Spears previously called a “failure to thrive,” the Journal News previously reported; experts who spoke with the publication said that implanting a feeding tube at such a young age was a concern in itself.
Among the 40 video tapes the jury was shown, there was one particularly disturbing video showing Garnett in pain after Spears took him to a hospital bathroom with what appeared to be a tube. Defense argued that the tape may have been edited. Garnett died just days later. Another alarming testimony was from a friend of Spears who said that immediately following Garnett’s death, Spears instructed her to throw away a feeding bag from her living room and “not tell anybody,” according to the Journal News report. That bag was later given to police. Open containers of salt were also found in Spears’ apartment during two trips by the police; the defense argued that the bags may have been contaminated since they were left in an unlocked apartment.
The defense team, who had previously urged the court to “put emotions aside,” will present first to the jury at closing arguments beginning 9:30 a.m. Thursday, followed by the prosecution. The timing of deliberations is still unknown.