A social worker told jurors Carolyn Riley was “very resistant” to the idea of her coming to the Rileys’ house to discuss the welfare of Riley’s three children in the aftermath of an abuse complaint. Less than two weeks later, Riley’s youngest child, 4-year-old Rebecca, was dead.
Rebecca Riley had two to three times the amount of a powerful prescription sedative in her blood when she died than if she had taken a day’s worth of the drug as it had been prescribed for her, the former head of a state toxicology lab testified Wednesday morning.
Dr. George S. Behonick, the director of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center toxicology lab when the little girl died, called the amount of clonidine in the little girl’s body “life-threatening.”
Prosecutors contend the girl’s parents intentionally overdosed her with clonidine because they make money off of her through Social Security disability payments. Defense lawyers claim Rebecca died of a fast-moving pneumonia, not from a drug overdose.
Carolyn Riley is on trial for her daughter's murder, and Michael Riley’s trial is set to start immediately after a verdict in the ongoing case.
Carolyn Riley’s lawyer Michael Bourbeau questioned Behonick’s conclusions about the amount of drugs in the 4-year-old’s body when she died.
“All you’re doing is speculating,” he said.
Dr. Kayoko Kifuji, the Tufts Medical Center psychiatrist treating three of the Riley children, prescribed 3 1/2 clonidine pills daily for Rebecca, given in four doses.
She diagnosed Rebecca as bipolar when the girl was 2 years old.
Dennis Tatz may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.