A mom who asked her young son to poison his father had her conviction overturned in a Washington court after it was determined that a “mother’s love” was priceless.

The Washington Court of Appeals on Monday overturned the 2021 conviction of Vanessa Valdiglesias LaValle, who asked her 10-year-old son to kill his father, the Seattle Times first reported.

She had been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Valdiglesias LaValle was found guilty of trying to solicit her young son to slip rat poison into his father, Timothy Grady’s, wine in 2020.

The woman had lost custody of her two children and promised her son that she could be reunited with them if their father died, according to a conversation secretly recorded by the second child, an 8-year-old.

But the appeals court ruled that there is no price on a “mother’s love,” and therefore Valdiglesias LaValle did not solicit murder according to Washington State law, which states a person must offer money or “other thing of value” in exchange for an act of criminality.

“While it could be argued that a mother’s love is priceless, does an expressed desire to be with her children forever equate to a ‘thing of value’ to support a criminal solicitation conviction under (the law)?” the court’s opinion said. “We hold that it does not, because a ‘thing of value’ must have monetary value.”

Table and chair in the courtroom of the judiciary.
Vanessa Valdiglesias LaValle promised her children they would be reunited if their father was dead.
Getty Images/EyeEm

Valdiglesias LaValle was born in Peru and met Grady, who is 25 years her senior, on an online dating service. He brought her to Skagit County in 2008 and the two married and had two children, but the marriage dissolved within six years.

Valdiglesias LaValle testified that Grady was physically abusive, which she backed up with police reports and witness statements dating from 2009 to 2016, medical records and social service records relating to both and her children.

Though Valdiglesias LaValle originally had child custody, Grady was awarded custody in 2019 and Valdiglesias LaValle was only allowed four hours of unsupervised visitation per week. Grady advised his children to record conversations with their mother during these visits.

“He take it and drinking, and he don’t know nothing, you know, so nobody’s nothing. That’s a secret between you and me … You keep it forever,” Valdiglesias LaValle told her son on one of the visits. “He later, in the night he pass away. He die.”

During the trial, the 10-year-old testified that he took what his mother said seriously, but that he didn’t believe Valdiglesias LaValle would give him the poison to use on Grady.

Valdiglesias LaValle’s case will now be sent back to trial court.



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