Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Candidate Haunted by Past Woman Gives $10,000 to Unseat Prosecutor

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Candidate Haunted by Past Woman Gives $10,000 to Unseat Prosecutor

Article excerpt

Patricia Stallings, the mother wrongly convicted of poisoning her child with antifreeze, has come back to haunt George B. McElroy, the man who prosecuted her.

She has donated $10,000 to Robert G. Wilkins, McElroy's opponent in the Democratic primary election on Aug. 2 for Jefferson County prosecutor.

Stallings, 29, of St. Louis County, said Monday that before her trial, McElroy's office had been told by a doctor that her infant son, Ryan, suffered from a genetic disorder often fatal to infants.

She accused McElroy and an assistant prosecutor of hiding this information from her attorney in 1991 and then prosecuting her for murder.

After she went to prison, further tests showed Ryan had not been poisoned in 1989 with antifreeze but with toxins his own body produced.

Stallings was then granted a new trial. McElroy declined to retry the case. He apologized publicly, saying he had become convinced she was innocent.

McElroy said he had relied on laboratory tests showing ethylene glycol in the infant's system. "We had a case that needed to be tried," he said. "There was no evidence to support that he died of any other cause."

"I can appreciate her grief and anger," he said. "I just feel her anger is misdirected."

Stallings spent 18 months in jail or prison and lost custody of her other newborn son during the ordeal. She later filed wrongful-death suits against St. Louis University Hospital and Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, some of the doctors involved and SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories because of the misdiagnoses. She settled out of court for several million dollars in awards from St. Louis University and SmithKline.

She's now using some of that money to help Wilkins, of High Ridge. He's a former assistant prosecutor in St. Louis County and is city prosecutor in Arnold. Stallings, formerly of Hillsboro, has helped collect several thousand more dollars for Wilkins, bringing his campaign contributions to $23,878, compared with McElroy's $8,665.

While Stallings awaited trial, another son, David Stallings Jr., was born. He became ill and was diagnosed as having methylmalonic acidemia, or MMA. This inherited disorder causes the body to produce toxins similar to the ethylene glycol found in antifreeze. "McElroy knew what happened," Stallings said. "They knew Ryan had MMA, and they hid it. I believe the doctors knew, too, but they were all scared of having it come out."

Dr. James D. Shoemaker of St. Louis University then did follow-up tests on Ryan's blood, which showed he, too, had MMA. …

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