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Vegan Couple Gets Life For Child's Death

A vegan couple was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison in the death of their malnourished 6-week-old, who was fed a diet largely consisting of soy milk and apple juice.

Judge L.A. McConnell imposed the sentences on Jade Sanders, 27, and Lamont Thomas, 31, for starving the boy, who weighed just 3 1/2 pounds when he died.

Six-week-old Crown Shakur died of starvation April 25, 2004. His parents attributed his emaciated state to their strict vegan diet. Vegans are people who do not eat or use any animal products.

The couple was found guilty May 2 of malice murder, felony murder, involuntary manslaughter and cruelty to children. A jury deliberated about seven hours before returning the guilty verdicts.

Defense lawyers said the first-time parents did the best they could while adhering to the lifestyle of vegans, who typically use no animal products. They said Sanders and Thomas did not realize the baby, who was born at home, was in danger until minutes before he died.

But prosecutor Mike Carlson told the jury during closing arguments: "They're not vegans. They're baby killers!"

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