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Vegan Couple Found Guilty of Starving Infant Son to Death

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A Georgia Supreme Court upheld a ruling and life sentence of two first-time parents for killing their newborn son. Jade Sanders and Lamont Thomas were found guilty of malice murder, felony murder, and involuntary manslaughter for starving their son to death while attempting to follow a strict vegan diet.

The couple rushed their son to the hospital after he had trouble breathing, and doctors announced him dead upon arrival in 2005. Doctors declared that the young boy died from extreme malnourishment or starvation and a later police search turned up a bottle of soy milk, a bottle of apple juice, and a rancid-smelling baby bottle caked with debris. During their 2007 trial, prosecutors argued that the investigation revealed that the couple purposefully neglected their son and refused to take him to the hospital even as his body visibly wasted away.

In contrast, defense attorneys argued that the couple did the best they could while trying to adhere to a vegan diet, which reject any animal by-products. They also argued that Sanders and Thomas did not realize their baby was in danger until they rushed him to the hospital. Thomas also contested that his attorney failed to adequately defend him because he did not call a witness to the stand to support his assertion that his son died from complications related to cystic fibrosis. Nevertheless, the Georgia Supreme Court’s opinion rejected both arguments.