Florida vegan mother sentenced to life in prison for killing 18-month-old son on strict diet
A vegan mother has been jailed for life in the United States for killing her 18-month-old baby, who starved to death on a strict diet of raw fruit and vegetables.
A Florida jury convicted Sheila O'Leary, 39, of first-degree murder, aggravated abuse and neglect of her son, Ezra. Ezra weighed 17 kilograms, seven kilograms below average, when he died in his sleep in 2019.
After Ezra's death, Sheila and her husband, Ryan, told authorities that the family followed a strict vegan diet limited to only raw fruits and vegetables and breast milk.
At the time of Ezra's death, their three other children, all under the age of 11, were also suffering from malnutrition and dehydration.
O'Leary told detectives that her son had not eaten for a week and had trouble sleeping the night before his death.
During the Lee County trial, Prosecutor Francine Donnorummo, chief of the state attorney's office's special victims unit, emphasized that Ezra's condition was chronic because O'Leary failed to provide her child with food and health care.
"This was a planned death," Donnorummo said, "Ignorance is no defense in this case."