Appeals court grants second trial for woman convicted of failing to give son medical care

A state appeals court reversed the conviction of a Park City woman who last year was found guilty on two felony charges after officials said she failed to give her son the medical care he required after a heart transplant.

In May 2022, a jury found Jennifer B. Stroud, 42, guilty of both child endangerment and involuntary manslaughter. After the trial, attorneys from the office of the state appellate defender argued the outcome was legally inconsistent because the two offenses require proof of different mental states.

The mental state for committing involuntary manslaughter is one of recklessness, but the law says when committing child endangerment one must knowingly cause or permit the life or health of a child to be endangered, the attorneys argued.

Appellate Court Justice Mary S. Schostok agreed with Stroud's lawyers and ordered that Stroud receive a new trial.

Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart said Tuesday night his office will appeal to the Supreme Court and ask that Stroud remain in custody since the appellate court did not question her guilt.

“Ms. Stroud criminally failed to provide medicine to her son and knowingly missed critical medical appointments,” Rinehart said. “She is guilty on both counts, and the different time periods make the guilty verdicts consistent.”

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.

At Stroud's first trial, prosecutor Eric 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.

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.

Jennifer B. Stroud began serving an 8-year prison sentence at Logan Correctional Center in downstate Lincoln, Illinois on August 5, 2022.

Jason Stroud
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