Cobb mom gets max sentence for fatally poisoning her disabled son

A Cobb County judge ordered Wednesday that Erica White spend the rest of her life in prison.

White, 45, was found guilty days earlier of poisoning to death her 2-year-old son, who was left blind and disabled after a beating by his father when he was younger.

White was sentenced to life in prison without parole plus 83 more years in prison, according to Kim Isaza, the Cobb district attorney’s office spokeswoman. White was convicted of malice murder.

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Credit: Cobb County District Attorney's Office

Credit: Cobb County District Attorney's Office

The state built a case which included the theory that White killed her son Tyrael McFall to fuel her “greed.” Many of the charges against her involve White trying to build credit and make purchases in Tyrael’s name after he died.

“The crimes committed by this defendant are the most reprehensible and unforgivable that exist in our community,” prosecutor Susan Treadaway said.

White’s defense team argued that the mother was crushed by her son’s death. They also tried to divert attention to her boyfriend at the time, Michael Schullerman, who was also indicted on the murder charges.

More than two months ago, Schullerman, 38, pleaded guilty to about a dozen charges — not including the murder counts — and was sentenced to 20 years in prison on a racketeering charge.

Tyrael was killed by high levels of codeine, the medical examiner found.

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The state said that Tylenol No. 3, which contains codeine, was crushed and put into his gastric bypass tube. A GBI toxicologist testified that the amount in Tyrael’s system was toxic but not necessarily fatal.

When detectives arrested White and Schullerman, investigators searched their Austell home and found credit card bills addressed to Tyrael.

The investigation showed that the pair had opened several credit cards in the toddler’s name and made purchases. White had also taken out a $50,000 life insurance policy on Tyrael without mentioning his disabilities.

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Tyrael's biological father Joseph McFall was also sentenced to 20 years in prison in April 2014 after he shook the boy, threw him, cracked both his arms and a rib. Tyrael was eight weeks old at that time.

"She has to live with the fact that she let these men into her life," White's defense attorney Bryan Lumpkin said during opening statements on Jan. 22.

Lumpkin also represented Justin Ross Harris — the Cobb man convicted in 2016 of purposely leaving his young son to die in a hot car. Superior Court Judge Mary Staley Clark presided over the Harris trial and also gave White her sentence of life without parole.

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