A vegan woman from Florida, who was convicted in the malnutrition death of her 18-month-old son, has been sentenced to life in prison.

The 38-year-old woman, identified as Sheila O'Leary, was convicted last June for the death of her young son, Ezra O'Leary.

She had been charged with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter, child abuse, and two counts of child neglect. The woman, whose family also followed a strict vegan diet, fed her son only raw vegetables, fruits, and breast milk.

The boy only weighed 17 pounds and was the size of a 7-month-old baby when he died in September 2019. While the average weight of a boy aged 18 months should be 10.9 kg (24 lb. 1 oz).

According to the medical examiner, the boy's death was caused by complications developed from malnutrition. The complications had affected the toddler's liver and caused swelling of the hands, feet, and lower legs, per a probable cause statement obtained by the Fort Myers News-Press.

"She made choices that killed her child. Her pride cost Ezra his life. It is a reckless disregard for human life," said Francine Donnorummo, Special Victims Unit chief at the State Attorney's Office.

Her husband, Ryan Patrick O'Leary, is also awaiting trial on the aforementioned charges. The couple also has two other children, ages 3 and 5, who also had malnutrition.

The woman also had another child who was returned to her biological father following a malnutrition case in Virginia, wrote ABC News citing court records.

"The evidence and crime scene, in this case, are gut-wrenching," said State Attorney Amira Fox, lamenting the boy's death. However, the couple's attorneys have maintained that they were caring parents who had no intention of killing their baby.

"The child's death, while tragic, was neither purposeful nor neglectful, but accidental, and is listed on the death certificate as such," attorney John Musca told the local media.

Dieticians suggest that babies should eat a combination of vegetables, fruit, grain, low-fat dairy, and quality protein sources.

Representational image. Photo: Pixabay