Jury finds Park City woman guilty for failing to give son needed medical care
A Lake County jury Tuesday found a Park City woman guilty of felony charges of involuntary manslaughter and endangering the life of a child for failing to give her son the medical care he required after a heart transplant.
Jennifer Stroud, 41, faces up to 14 years in prison, officials said. Stroud was out of jail after paying $7,500 in cash before the trial. After the verdict, she was placed into custody until her sentencing hearing on July 21.
Stroud's attorney, Elliot A. Pinsel, said they were disappointed with the result. Pinsel also said lead prosecutor Eric Kalata did a phenomenal job, one of the best he'd seen in his career.
Jason Stroud, 11, was a sixth-grader at Woodland Middle School in Gurnee when he died on Sept. 11, 2016, four years after undergoing heart transplant surgery in Milwaukee.
Kalata said the evidence showed months of failure by Stroud to care for her son.
"Both parents knew that Jason's transplant required lifetime care, and they knew the risks of failing him," Kalata said. "They were reckless with his life, and we hope these verdicts start a path toward justice for Jason."
Stroud, her then-husband David Stroud and Jason moved from Milwaukee to Park City in 2015. The couple were expected to take Jason to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago for regular visits. The parents also were tasked with giving Jason daily medication to prevent his body from rejecting the heart, authorities said.
When Jason missed several hospital appointments from December 2015 to August 2016, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services performed a well-being check, authorities said.
Prosecutors called 13 witnesses, including medical experts who explained how missing the appointments and failing to take the medication led to Jason's death.
David and Jennifer Stroud were co-defendants at one point, but the case was severed after the couple filed for divorce in July 2017.
David Stroud pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in May 2019 and was sentenced to five years in prison. As part of his sentence, he agreed to provide truthful testimony should the case against Jennifer Stroud go to trial.
But David Stroud was not called by either side to testify during the trial, which ran for just over a week.
Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart credited Park City Police, DCFS and the Child Protective Services Team at Lurie's Children Hospital in Chicago for conducting a "fantastic" investigation on Jason's behalf.
Rinehart thanked them, the prosecutors and all the medical professionals who strove to save Jason.
"We will continue our efforts to hold Stroud responsible at the sentencing hearing," he said.