‘Mother’s love is priceless’: Court overturns mom’s conviction after she asked son, 10, to poison dad

‘Mother’s love is priceless’: Court overturns mom’s conviction after she asked son, 10, to poison dad
(Representational Image/Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A Washington court overturned the conviction of a mother who asked her young son to poison his father after concluding that a 'mother's love' was priceless. According to The Seattle Times, the Washington Court of Appeals on Monday, October 10, overturned Vanessa Valdiglesias LaValle's conviction from 2021 for asking her 10-year-old son to murder his father. She had received a 15-year prison term.

In 2020, Valdiglesias LaValle was found guilty of attempting to recruit her young son to contaminate Timothy Grady's wine with rat poison. According to a chat secretly taped by the second child, an 8-year-old, the lady had lost custody of her two children and told her son that she might be reunited with them if their father dies. According to Washington State law, which specifies that a person must offer money or other things of value in exchange for a criminal act, Valdiglesias LaValle did not solicit murder because the appeals court held that there is no such thing as a ‘mother's love,’ and as a result, Valdiglesias LaValle did not commit a crime.

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The court’s opinion said, “While it could be argued that a mother’s love is priceless, does an expressed desire to be with her children forever equate to a ‘thing of value’ to support a criminal solicitation conviction under (the law)? We hold that it does not, because a ‘thing of value’ must have a monetary value.” Valdiglesias LaValle was born in Peru and met Grady, who is 25 years her senior, on an online dating service. In 2008, he took her to Skagit County, where they got married and had two kids before divorcing six years later.

In her testimony, Valdiglesias LaValle claimed that Grady had physically abused her and her children. She supported her claim with police reports, witness interviews, and medical and social care records spanning the years 2009 to 2016. Despite having child custody initially, Valdiglesias LaValle was only permitted four hours of unsupervised visitation per week when Grady was granted custody in 2019. Grady told his children to take notes of their mother's conversations during these trips. 

Valdiglesias LaValle told her son on one of the visits, “He take it and drinking, and he don’t know nothing, you know, so nobody’s nothing. That’s a secret between you and me … You keep it forever. He later, in the night he pass away. He die.” The 10-year-old stated in court that although he took his mother's words seriously, he didn't think Valdiglesias LaValle would give him the poison to use on Grady. The case of Valdiglesias LaValle will now be returned to the trial court.


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