Lacey Spears, the young mother accused of secretly poisoning her late 5-year-old son and documenting his decline on social media, went on trial in Westchester County, New York this week.
Last year the 27-year-old single Mom was arrested and charged with second-degree depraved murder and first-degree manslaughter following the suspicious death of her son Garnett-Paul Spears in January. Prosecutors say the young boy was admitted to hospital with extremely high levels of sodium just days before he died and Spears is accused of adding salt to a feeding tube in his stomach which reportedly caused swelling in his brain before ultimately killing him.
"This mother was intentionally feeding her son salt in toxic levels," Westchester County assistant district attorney, Doreen Lloyd said previously.
Jury selection began Monday with 90 potential jurors arriving at the court house. Some told the judge they were already familiar with the case through the media, according to a report.
Spears is currently behind bars. If she is convicted, she faces 25 years to life in jail.
The identity of Garnett's father remains uncertain although a man in Alabama claimed previously that he was the biological father.
Prosecutors say Spears, who portrayed herself as a devoted mother online, documented Garnett's final days via social media. Her heartbreaking posts about his declining health gained her a large following and garnered her sympathy from complete strangers.
"My Sweet Angel Is In The Hospital For The 23rd Time," Spears tweeted on Nov. 9, 2009 alongside a sad-faced emoticon. "Please Pray He Gets To Come Home Soon."
Just days after Garnett was born he was admitted to hospital with an ear infection, which marked the beginning of never-ending illnesses.
Spears had written tens of thousands of online posts about her son's illness over the course of his short life and he died on January 23.
"Garnett the great journeyed onward today at 10:20 a.m," another post read.
A court ruled previously that the Decatur, Ala., native's Facebook, Twitter and MySpace posts could be introduced in the case as evidence.
Supreme Court Justice Robert Neary said that in addition to social media posts, prosecutors could share with jurors Garnett's medical records and internet searches Spears allegedly did before he died on the dangers of sodium in kids.
Spears was raised in Allen County, Ky., and eventually moved to to Clearwater, Fla., where she reportedly developed an interest in organic living and holistic healing.
Two years ago, she and Garnett joined the Fellowship Community in Chestnut Ridge, New York, where she was living at the time of his death. The Fellowship was founded in 1966 by Austrian Philosopher Rudolf Steiner and it offers an alternative lifstyle while centering around the care of the elderly.
According to prosecutors, one witnesses from The Fellowship attested to seeing Spears feed Garnett through his feeding tube on Jan 17, days before he died. Another witness reportedly told investigators that Spears called her from the hospital as Garnett lay dying and urged her to dispose of a feeding bag Spears used to feed him.
Contrary to initial reports, attorneys for Spears, who maintains her innocence, will not reference the psychiatric disorder Munchausen by proxy during the trial and prosecutors have agreed to do the same. The disorder sees a parent or caregiver inducing illness in a child or those they are caring for to garner sympathy.