A Middlesex County woman who admitted smothering her 6-year-old son in 2005 has been allowed to make a case for withdrawing her guilty plea.
Alice O'Donnell has been serving a 30-year prison sentence without a chance for parole. She claimed she would have gone to trial if her attorney had advised her adequately.
A lower court ruled against her in 2012, but an appeals court took her side in a ruling published Thursday and sent the case to the lower court for an evidentiary hearing.
O'Donnell had a history of mental illness and psychiatric hospitalizations, according to court documents. She claimed she killed her son because she feared he was being abused by a priest and if she lost custody of him because of impending homelessness, the abuse would continue.