A mother from Vermont, US, has been sentenced to four years in prison
for killing her disabled 13-year-old son by adding vodka into his feeding tube in 2014.

Melissa Robitille and her boyfriend Walter Richters had poured the alcohol into her son Isaac Robitte's IV tube to keep him quiet because he was being fussy.

The young boy was born with a serious brain abnormality, and was kept alive by being fed through an IV. A toxicology report confirmed his blood alcohol content was 0.146% and ruled that alcohol was the leading factor in Isaac's death.

The 41-year-old mother apparently pleaded with the judge to show her "mercy and compassion". She said on Tuesday (1 November): "I hope the court will keep in mind that I'm already bearing the punishment which will never end."

However, Robitille's own relatives pleaded with the judge for a harsh sentence, picturing her as an abusive, neglectful mother.

"The swath of destruction that this woman has laid behind her is wide and deep," Isaac's uncle David Robitille said.

The state reportedly asked for a 10-year jail time, while Robitille's defence lawyer Rob Sussman, wanted three. In the end, Judge Thomas Zonay ruled that Robitille would be sentenced to a minimum of four years because she showed regret over the incident.

"It's not fair. I don't think it's fair. I think 4 to 12 years is not enough for what she has done," one of her relatives said.

Richters was also convicted in the manslaughter death of Isaac and has been serving out a three-year sentence.