The vegan Florida mother convicted of murder in the starvation death of her 18-month-old son after feeding him only raw fruits and vegetables has been sentenced to life in prison.
Sheila O’Leary, 38, learned her fate Monday after her sentencing hearing was delayed four times following her conviction in late June for first-degree murder in the 2019 death of her son, Ezra O’Leary.
The Cape Coral woman also was handed two 30-year sentences for aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter of a child, and an additional five-year term for child abuse and child neglect, to be served concurrently, reported the Fort Myers News-Press.
Judge Bruce Kyle ordered O’Leary, who was standing silently in a red prison jumpsuit, to have no contact with her surviving children.
O’Leary’s defense attorney said after the hearing that he intends to appeal the sentence.
Her husband, Ryan O’Leary, 33, remains in jail while awaiting trial on the same charges.
In early August, additional counts of sexual assault on a victim younger than 12, and lewd and lascivious behavior on a victim younger than 12 were filed against the dad.
Investigators said the O’Leary couple told them the family ate only raw fruits and vegetables, although Ezra also was fed breast milk.
The 18-month-old boy weighed 17 pounds — seven pounds below average — and was the size of a 7-month-old baby when he died in September 2019, a police report said.
An autopsy found little Ezra died of malnutrition complications.
“This child did not eat. He was starved to death over 18 months,” Francine Donnorummo, the special victims unit chief at the Lee County State Attorney’s Office, said during Sheila O’Leary’s trial.
O’Leary and her husband had two other children, ages 3 and 5, who also were malnourished, investigators said. A fourth child, aged 11, had been returned to her biological father during an earlier malnutrition case in Virginia, court records show.
With Post wires