Mass. mom's conviction upheld in girl's drug death

Updated:

BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Appeals Court has refused to overturn the conviction of a woman found guilty of second-degree murder for overmedicating her 4-year-old daughter on powerful prescription drugs.

Carolyn Riley and her husband, Michael, were convicted in the 2006 death of their daughter, Rebecca.

Prosecutors say the couple concocted symptoms of mental illness in the girl in an attempt to collect disability benefits, then overmedicated her to keep her quiet and out of their way.

Defense lawyers said Rebecca died of a severe, fast-moving pneumonia, not an overdose.

Carolyn Riley's lawyers argued in the appeal that the trial judge erroneously allowed prejudicial character evidence to be admitted and allowed a forensic toxicologist to testify for prosecutors without first holding a proper hearing.

The Appeals Court rejected the arguments and upheld the conviction.