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Mother wants justice in death of son, 3

Niccole Booze decided to get help for cocaine addiction in late 2005. She placed her two sons in foster care and entered a residential treatment program.

She later learned her infant son, Lazon Gulley, had suffered severe brain damage while in foster care. The injuries, which were consistent with shaken baby syndrome, put the boy in a persistent vegetative state.

On Friday, the boy died.

Lazon Gulley was 3 years old.

His foster mother, Tenesia Brown, was arrested in late 2006 and charged with aggravated child abuse. She was released on bail and still is awaiting trial. She has pleaded not guilty.

Booze now hopes prosecutors will charge Brown with manslaughter or murder.

"Justice demands that something be done," Booze's lawyer, Darryl Rouson, said at a news conference Monday.

Prosecutors will charge Brown with murder if an autopsy concludes Lazon's death was due to the injuries he sustained during the child abuse, said Bruce Bartlett, chief assistant in State Attorney Bernie McCabe's office.

Bartlett said his office is waiting on those results from the Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner's Office. "That's just prudent prosecution," he said.

John Trevena, a lawyer representing Brown, has previously said that he believes police and prosecutors charged Brown because of "pressure from repeated media releases from Darryl Rouson's office" about the case. He has said he expects Brown to be exonerated.

Police and prosecutors have denied that Rouson had any affect on their decision to investigate and prosecute Brown.

Booze, 30, has since been reunited with her four children, who range in ages from 11 months to 10 years old. She is enrolled at St. Petersburg College with plans to study education in January.

"Really, I just want to see justice served and someone held accountable for what has happened," she said.

Mother wants justice in death of son, 3 12/01/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 3, 2008 2:32pm]
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