Trial began ton Monday for a Georgia woman accused of poisoning a disabled toddler with codeine, then using the little boy’s social security number to open credit cards.
The little boy, Tyrael, didn’t have much of a chance at life. He was nearly beat to death mere weeks after he was born, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In 2012, his biological father, Joseph Rucker McFall, beat the infant, 8 weeks old at the time, so badly that he blinded him for life and fractured bones in his arms and ribs.
McFall was sentenced to 20 years in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised probation. Tyrael was left in the care of his mother, Erica Claudette White, who filed for divorce from McFall after the incident.
In 2014, however, White allegedly gave the boy, who turned two that year, a fatal dose of codeine. Police said that White initially denied having codeine in her possession, but investigators learned she filled a Tylenol with codeine prescription two days prior to the toddler’s death. On Nov. 8, 2014, a medic pronounced Tyrael dead.
According to court documents, White and her boyfriend, Michael Robert Schullerman, a man she met online, assisted in poisoning the little boy. Afterward, the pair allegedly got five credit cards in the toddler’s name, then attempted to get four additional cards.
Further, they’re accused of failing to notify the Social Security Administration of the boy’s death, in an attempt to keep receiving his disability benefits. They’re also accused of forging a letter to receive state funds, and applying for a $50,000 life insurance policy without listing his disabilities.
White is behind bars at the Cobb County jail, without bond, facing charges of murder, credit card fraud, identity fraud, and aggravate battery, and false swearing. Schullerman, charged with same offenses, previously pleaded guilty to numerous charges, but not for murder. A judge sentenced him to 30 years in prison.
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[Feature Photo: Erica White and Michael Schullerman/Cobb County Sheriff’s Office]