WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — A woman accused of killing her 5-year-old son by poisoning him with salt through a feeding tube falsely claimed in the past that she had two other children and a fiance, a prosecutor said Thursday.
Assistant District Attorney Doreen Lloyd said the man and the children "never existed."
Lloyd told Westchester County Judge Richard Molea she wants to use the alleged lies as evidence against the mother, Lacey Spears of Scottsville, Kentucky. Spears has pleaded not guilty to charges of depraved murder and manslaughter in the January death of Garnett-Paul Spears.
The boy died at Westchester Medical Center when his sodium levels rose to dangerous levels with no medical explanation, prosecutors said. They believe his mother, who was sharing his hospital room, administered sodium through the stomach tube.
Spears, originally from Decatur, Alabama, was living in the New York suburbs at the time.
Lloyd did not detail the circumstances of Spears' statements about having a family. But she said the prosecution wants to use them as evidence of "prior bad acts." They could be used to attack Spears' credibility at trial.
Lloyd said the prosecution also has new evidence that Garnett's sodium levels were high once before, at an Alabama hospital.
Spears' lawyers would not comment.
A judge would have to decide on the admissibility of new evidence, and Molea scheduled a pretrial hearing for Jan. 26. Another judge has already ruled that a key piece of evidence — a bag prosecutors believe was used to hold the salt — was legally obtained.
For several years before Garnett's death, Spears kept friends around the country updated on her son's frequent hospitalizations by using Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and a blog.
Some experts have suggested that Spears may have Munchausen by proxy, a disorder in which caretakers purposely but secretly harm children and then enjoy the attention and sympathy.
However, the defense has not raised the condition as a defense and has asked that prosecutors not be allowed to mention it.