Sentencing delayed second time for Cape Coral mother who starved son to death

Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:
Sheila O'Leary
Sheila O’Leary in court on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. (Credit: WINK News)

The sentencing for a Cape Coral mother found guilty of first-degree murder after her son died of starvation has been delayed yet again.

Sheila O’Leary, 38, was originally meant to be sentenced in July, but a pre-sentencing investigation by the Department of Corrections did not get done for unknown reasons.

Now, for a second time, the sentencing scheduled for Monday, August 8, at 1:30 p.m. has also been delayed until August 15.

O’Leary was found guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child, child neglect, and child abuse.

Sheila and 33-year-old Ryan O’Leary were accused of starving their 18-month-old son to death and neglecting their other three children, causing one to have to get surgery because her teeth were so rotten. They were ages 3, 5, and 11 years old at the time of the arrest in November 2019.

The mother called 911 in September when she noticed her son was not breathing and felt cold, according to a police report. She tried to resuscitate the baby, but he was dead when paramedics arrived.

Both parents pleaded not guilty to all charges.

O’Leary previously rejected the state’s plea deal for 30 years in prison. Judge Bruce Kyle told her she will get a life sentence if found guilty.

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