Pennsylvania Foster Family Charged With Abusing, Starving 3 Young Kids Pixabay.

A 39-year-old vegan mother was convicted on Wednesday of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter, child abuse and two counts of child neglect in the death of her 18-month-old son, who starved to death over strict raw fruit and vegetable diet.

A Florida jury convicted Sheila O'Leary over the death of her son, Ezra. She is reportedly facing life in prison for murdering her child, who weighed 17 pounds, which is considered seven pounds below average – when he died in his sleep in 2019. Doctors found he had not been fed for a week by the time he died in Sept. 2019.

At the time of Ezra's death, Sheila's three other children, all under the age of 11, were reportedly suffering from malnutrition and dehydration. Sheila told detectives that her son did not eat for a week and that he was "having trouble sleeping the night prior to his death."

Sheila and her husband, Ryan O'Leary, also told authorities that the family followed a strict vegan diet limited to "only raw fruits and vegetables" and "breast milk."

Prosecutor Francine Donnorummo said during the Lee County trial on Wednesday that the state attorney's office used Sheila's Google searches when Ezra's health declined as evidence against her.

Donnorummo claimed Ezra's condition was chronic as O'Leary failed to provide her child with food and health care, "This was a thought-out, planned course of action," Donnorummo said. "Ignorance is not a defense in this case."

"The evidence shown at trial proved the child died due to complications from severe malnutrition and dehydration," prosecutors said, adding that Ezra was not the only victim. "Three other victims, a 3-year-old boy, a 5-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl, also suffered from extreme neglect and child abuse."

Defense attorney Lee Hollander addressed the jury, showing pictures of Sheila and Ezra. "Does that look like a mom who wants to kill her kid?" Hollander asked. "Just because it happened doesn't mean she committed a crime." Sheila and Ryan were charged in Dec. 2019. Sheila faces sentencing later this month. Ryan, 33, was indicted on the same charges and is expected to stand trial later this year.

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