Veronica Cirella (pictured far left) is accused of feeding her allergic and disabled daughter M&M candies that contained traces of peanuts. The Mom pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of second-degree murder, which has been upgraded from the original charge of manslaughter in connection to the little girl’s death, reports CBS News.
Cirella documented all of the events that led up to her child’s death in a suicide note she composed before attempting to kill herself, after discovering that her daughter had passed away.
The child, Julie (pictured above, below), was set to attend her cousin’s wedding, where she would serve as a flower girl. The child had cerebral palsy and was confined to a wheel chair. Cirella allegedly fed the girl M&M’s the night before the wedding as a treat for participating in the event the following day. According to the note, when Cirella read that the candy contained peanuts, she administered the drug Benadryl in order to counteract any possible allergic reactions, then went to sleep.
Prosecutors are stating that Cirella should have followed a common sense protocol for her daughter, knowing she was indeed allergic to peanuts.
Upon discovering Julie’s body last July 23, Cirella attempted to kill herself. According to the note, the 31-year-old Mom took two injections of insulin and drank the diabetic treatment medication as well. She also ingested an unknown amount of painkillers. Cirella later told police that she even attempted to strangle herself via an electrical cord.
Cirella’s mother-in-law, Dolores Cirella, discovered both bodies when she checked in to see how the wedding preparations were going later in the afternoon.
Investigators also reveal how Cirella, in her note, said she wants Julie to go to a more peaceful, pain-free place.
“I had to give her a better life, which was to give her back to heaven. She does not deserve to be in pain whatsoever. I don’t mind going to hell because I took my life to give her a better life, which is in heaven where she can be free.”
Cirella, however, never mentions in the note that she purposely gave her child the candy in order to kill her.
Cirella’s attorney, William Keahon, argues that his client should be released on bail because the autopsy failed to give a just cause for the child’s death. Keahon’s claims are falling upon deaf ears, though, because the Nassau County, New York, judge is adamant that Cirella’s attempted suicide, along with the fact that she is facing a life sentence, is reason enough to leave her behind bars until her trial.
On the flip side, district attorney Kathleen Rice released a press statement that says, “Every child’s death arouses strong emotions, but prosecutors must evaluate the evidence objectively, and regardless of how difficult the defendant perceived her circumstances to be, taking her daughter’s life was unjustified.”