ST. JOHNSBURY, VT (WCMH/AP) — A Vermont woman is on trial for manslaughter in the death of her disabled son who had vodka poured into his feeding tube.
The trial of 41-year-old Melissa Robitille, of Hardwick, began Monday in Vermont Superior Court in St. Johnsbury.
Robitille is facing the charge stemming from the 2014 alcohol poisoning death of 13-year-old Isaac Robitille, who prosecutors say was blind, had no ears, had a cleft palate and had developmental delays.
Last year, Robitillle’s former boyfriend Walter Richters was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in Isaac’s death.
The Caledonian Record reports Richters testified he watched Robitille pour the vodka into her son’s feeding bag.
“The defendant and Walter Richters discussed giving Isaac some alcohol as a comfort measure because he appeared fussy and tired,” said prosecutor Lisa Warren. “The defendant gave her dependent, disabled son alcohol – disregarding the risks and ultimately caused his death. And we’d ask you to return a verdict of guilty.”
Robitille’s attorney, Robert Sussman, told the jury on Monday that Richters is the one fed the vodka to the child.
“He’s the one who poured the small amount of vodka into the feeding tube,” Sussman argued.
An autopsy found Isaac’s blood alcohol concentration was .146 — nearly double the legal limit for an adult to drive.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.