Three days after a brutal attack left Maria Vera with severe brain damage, about two dozen of her relatives gathered in the hospital to say their goodbyes.
They knew the once-vibrant 22-year-old would never recover, but they felt a sense of comfort knowing her organs could potentially save others.
But Maria's husband, Jeremy Gallant -- accused of attacking her -- was still considered her legal guardian and had the final say in whether to remove her from life support.
Doing so would almost certainly mean Gallant would face murder charges. In the eight days that followed, the family lingered in a vigilant state of limbo, searching for a miracle. But Maria's body continued to deteriorate. Ultimately, doctors could no longer use her organs.
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