Jailed Salem mother seeks new trial

Lawyer’s lack of experience cited

Prosecutors alleged Kristen LaBrie withheld medication from her son.
Cheryl Senter/AP/File 2011
Prosecutors alleged Kristen LaBrie withheld medication from her son.

SALEM — A Salem woman sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for withholding potentially life-saving medication from her autistic, cancer-stricken son is asking for a new trial.

An appeals lawyer for Kristen LaBrie wrote in a motion for a new trial that her trial lawyer was inexperienced and questioned some of the judge’s instructions to the jury.

LaBrie was convicted in April 2011 of attempted murder for withholding at least five months of at-home chemotherapy treatments for her son, Jeremy Fraser.


The boy died at age 9 in 2009. Jeremy was severely autistic, nonverbal, and developmentally delayed.

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He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma shortly after he turned 7 in 2006.

LaBrie withheld treatments and did not tell his doctors because she no longer wanted to care for the boy, prosecutors alleged.

LaBrie testified at trial that she could not bear the pain her son suffered after taking the medication.

Boston attorney Michelle Menken, who is handling the appeal, said in a 56-page motion that the conviction was ‘‘plainly attributable to the ineffective assistance of trial counsel,’’ The Salem News reported.


LaBrie’s trial attorney also had no experience trying a case in Superior Court and had never handled a case involving a mental health defense, wrote Menken.

The Essex district attorney’s office has 90 days to respond to the motion.