A Georgia woman accused of killing her son walked into a Cobb County courtroom sniffling and crying on Monday, where gruesome details emerged regarding the 2014 death a disabled toddler who overdosed on a fatal amount of codeine.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Erica Claudette White, of Austell, is facing 16 charges after she allegedly poisoned her 2-year-old disabled toddler, Tyrael, in Nov. 2014. Two years earlier, when Tyrael was 8-weeks-old, his biological father, Joseph Rucker McFall, beat the infant so badly that he blinded the little boy for life and left him with fractured bones in his arms and ribs. The abuse also left the boy unable to eat on his own or walk.
McFall is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence, followed by 10 years probation.
In court on Monday, the prosecution described White as “poisoning for profit” liar, thief, and murderer after she allegedly placed a lethal amount of codeine in her son’s feeding tube. White denied the accusation in 2014, claiming she had no access to codeine, but detectives determined that a few days prior to the boy’s death, she filled a prescription for Tylenol with codeine.
Chief ADA John Melvin pulled out five credit cards in court and explained to the jury that White, along with her boyfriend, Michael Robert Schullerman, obtained five credit cards using the little boy’s social security number after he passed away. Melvin said White put a fake birthdate down while applying for the cards, then later maxed out each one while trying to obtain an additional four credit cards in her son’s name.
According to Melvin, the suspect used one of the cards to make a $50 purchase at a liquor store. She then bought numerous electronics from Best Buy for Schullerman, who’s also accused of killing the toddler. Melvin also pointed out that White took out a $50,000 insurance policy on Tyrael.
“This is a case about poisoning for profit,” Melvin said, according to the Marietta Daily Journal. “It’s a case about doing away with the inconvenience of a child that she viewed as damaged.”
White’s attorney Bryan Lumpkin, well-known for defending Justin Ross Harris, the man accused of leaving his toddler son inside a hot car to die, claimed that White was a “doting” mother who whose life revolved around her son.
“Erica White’s life was Tyrael McFall. He was having fevers. He was sick to the point of having to be in the hospital for a week. He was having breathing problems, he had a virus and he had seizures that were getting worse and worse.”
Witnesses said that White appeared hysterical when she learned her son had died, even climbing onto his hospital bed with him in an attempt to keep him close to her. She was admitted into a hospital herself for anxiety, according to her attorney, and later turned to drugs as a way to cope with her loss.
When the prosecution pulled out photos of her deceased boy in court on Monday, White shrieked and buried her face in her hands. She’s facing charges of 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.
Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Erica White and Michael Schullerman/Cobb County Sheriff’s Office]