Joe Larese/The Journal News/AP
April 08, 2015 11:10 AM

Lacey Spears, the mother who was found guilty of poisoning her 5-year-old son with salt, was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison on Wednesday morning.

The mother, 27, documented her son Garnett’s battle with a mysterious illness at length on social media. Prosecutors said she enjoyed the “attention and sympathy” she received from having a sick child.

After the 5-year-old died on Jan. 23, 2014, Spears was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter.

A doctor testified in February that the mom “just had a smile on her face” when he told her that the boy’s bloodwork showed elevated levels of sodium.

Another friend said Spears seemed “withdrawn” during her son’s final days.

“When I walked into the room, Garnett was on the bed with hospital staff around him,” Danielle Grossenbacher told the court. “His body was flailing all over the bed and he was unresponsive.”

She added: “I did not see her cry.”

Police who searched the mother’s house after her son’s death said they found two feeding bags that tested positive for sodium, as well as an open container of sea salt. A neighbor testified that Spears asked her to hide the bags in question.

Spears’s online history allegedly showed that she had been researching the dangers of sodium. And before his death in January 2014, Garnett had previously been treated for salt poisoning as an infant.

But Spears maintained her innocence throughout the trial, saying her son may have been responsible for his own death. According to court documents obtained by PEOPLE, she told authorities “the victim would once in a while play with his feeding tube and could have put something into it.”

Prosecutors asked for the maximum sentence, 25 years to life, at Wednesday’s hearing, CBS New York reports.

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