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Lawyer for mother guilty of attempted murder says system failed her

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Attorney Kevin James says his client did not intentionally withhold medication from her son
  • "Certainly there was no motive in this case," he says
  • Kristen LaBrie was found guilty of attempted murder
  • James says she was allowed to slip through the cracks

Read more about this story from CNN affiliate WHDH.

(CNN) -- The attorney for the Massachusetts mother found guilty of attempted murder for withholding medications from her cancer-stricken son said Tuesday the system failed his client.

"Some of the times when people have mental problems they have a hard time reaching out. That's the purpose of social workers. Social workers are supposed to be able to detect when people have problems. The social workers on this case failed to do that. Certainly the warning signs were there," attorney Kevin James said on HLN's "Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell."

"Why didn't the people that knew better, why didn't they come forward and help?" he asked.

Kristen LaBrie was found guilty Tuesday of attempted murder, assault and battery and causing bodily harm to a child for failing to give her son, Jeremy Fraser, cancer medications, according to CNN affiliate WHDH. Fraser, who also was autistic, died in 2009 at age 9, WHDH reported.

LaBrie will be sentenced Friday in Lawrence District Court in Lawrence, Massachusetts. She faces up to 20 years in prison for the attempted murder conviction and nearly 18 years for the other charges, said Steve O'Connell, spokesman for the Essex County District Attorney's Office.

"Certainly there was no motive in this case," James said. "She did not intentionally withhold the medication from little Jeremy."

Prosecutors had argued that LaBrie knew exactly what she was doing when she stopped giving her son his cancer treatment, WHDH reported.

LaBrie, who testified in her own defense during the trial, was placed in handcuffs inside the courtroom after the jury delivered its verdict, video from WHDH showed.

"Mass General Hospital let this woman go," James said, referring to Massachusetts General Hospital. "They should have known that there were issues here -- should have known that maybe they were requesting too much of this single, 38-year-old woman to take care of a severely autistic child that now had cancer."

In Session's Aletse Mellado contributed to this report

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