Vermont mother who put vodka in disabled son's feeding tube leading to his death gets appeal rejected in court
Melissa Robitille, who was convicted of putting a shot of vodka into her son's feeding tube, that led to his death has lost an appeal at the Vermont Supreme Court. The woman had appealed to the court in the hope of overturning her four-year sentence that she was given in 2017 after a jury found her guilty. She had been convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the death of her 13-year-old son, Isaac, who was disabled.
According to prosecutors, she and her boyfriend Walter Richters decided to pour some vodka into his feeding tube in an effort to calm him down in an incident that happened in August 2014. The boy was found dead by the mother in the morning, stated reports.
Issac required 24-hour care due to a birth defect called holoprosencephaly. He had one eye and had a severe vision impairment, court documents revealed. He was also severely impaired in his hearing and had no external ears. He was dependant on others for his mobility and ate and drank through a feeding/water bag that was connected to his stomach. Due to his birth condition, he also had many endocrine disorders, one of which was diabetes insipidus, which required the fluid balance in his body to be correct.
The boy was generally taken care of by caretakers while the mother worked, but when they went on vacation, it was up to the mother to take care of Isaac. When the boy threw a tantrum, the couple decided that they could make him quiet down with a little booze. The autopsy showed that Isaac had alcohol in his system and caffeine as well. The medical examiner determined the cause of death was alcohol poisoning combined with his birth condition.
Her lawyers argued that the state did not produce sufficient evidence to support that she delivered the fatal dose of alcohol, among other arguments. According to court documents, the defendant argued that "the State presented insufficient evidence to sustain her conviction".
However, the Court did not agree to the plea. "Although IR's (Isaac Robitille) doctors would not have expected one ounce of alcohol to kill him, he weighed forty-nine pounds at the time; he was extremely vulnerable to fluid imbalances due to his diabetes insipidus and other conditions; even a small amount of alcohol could be fatal," said the ruling.