Breaking Legal News - POSTED: 2010/11/22 12:59
The state’s highest court on Thursday overturned the conviction of a Brockton woman who was convicted five years ago of second-degree murder in the 1985 death of her toddler daughter.
Margaret Earle was convicted in 2005 — 20 years after her daughter died. Her boyfriend was convicted of first-degree murder for stomping on the girl’s stomach.
Medical testimony established that Rachelle Pelletier’s small bowel was severed, which caused bacteria to build up and led to organ failure and death.
Prosecutors had argued that Earle failed to seek appropriate medical attention for the 21-month-old. But the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the evidence of malice was “legally insufficient” to support Earle’s second-degree murder conviction.
Earle’s lawyer, Michael Schneider, said his client still feels “horrible” about the loss of her child but was “thrilled” with the court’s ruling.
“Peggy has known in her heart that she had no involvement in this thing whatsoever,” he said. “Twenty-five years later she’s glad to put it behind her.”
Plymouth District Attorney Timothy Cruz, whose office prosecuted the case, said he was “gravely disturbed” by the reversal.