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Cape Coral mother who starved son to death has sentence delayed due to request for new attorney

Sheila O'Leary.jpg
Posted at 5:31 PM, Jul 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-25 19:08:30-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — A Cape Coral mother that was expected to be sentenced for starving her son to death will have to wait two more weeks to learn her fate.

Back in June, Sheila O'Leary was convicted of killing her 18-month-old son in 2019. On Monday, O'Leary's attorney told the judge O'Leary wanted him to recuse himself from the case.

Lee Hollander, her attorney, told the judge O'Leary wanted new counsel if she gets a new trial. That's on the table because Hollander filed motions, asking for that to happen. However, O'Leary claims she did not know he filed them.

He's claiming double jeopardy in the case, meaning O'Leary should have only been convicted of one crime for killing her son. She was found guilty of aggravated child abuse, child abuse, two counts of child neglect, aggravated manslaughter of a child and first-degree murder.

Confusion came from all sides of the case on Monday — the prosecutor of the case, the defense, the public defender's office and the judge. O'Leary was asked by the judge what Hollander did not do that she asked him to.

"I don't believe that he spoke in my defense the way I wanted him to during the trial," O'Leary said to the judge.

The motion filed by Hollander also claimed the judge did not tell the jury this is possibly a death penalty case.

Another reason for the delay: the Department of Corrections asked for a pre-sentence investigation report, which is not done yet. The state said it did not get a copy of it. The report is intended to help a judge determine a person's sentence. O'Leary is facing life in prison, the judge said on Monday.

The judge rescheduled O'Leary's sentencing to August 8 at 1:30 p.m. The report is expected to be done by then. At that time, the judge is expected to listen to the motion for a new trial.