Mother sentenced to 45 years for murder of son, 6

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 13, 2012 2:38 PM
Mother sentenced to 45 years for murder of son, 6

By Zach Howard

(Reuters) - A Texas woman who admitted killing her 6-year-old son and leaving his body on a Maine roadside tearfully apologized before being sentenced on Friday to 45 years to life in prison, New Hampshire court officials said.

The body of Camden Hughes was found along a remote road in Maine last May and remained unidentified for four days until authorities tracked down his mother, Julianne McCrery, at a Massachusetts highway rest stop.

Prosecutors said McCrery, 42, of Irving, Texas, killed her son at a New Hampshire motel and dumped his body, covered with a blanket, hours later. The cause of death was ruled as asphyxiation.

Depressed and suicidal, McCrery smothered her son with pillows, his limbs flailing until his body went limp, officials said.

Chief Justice Tina Nadeau in Rockingham Superior Court in Brentwood, New Hampshire, sentenced McCrery to 45 years to life in prison, officials in the court clerk's office said.

Before the sentencing, McCrery cried as she apologized for "causing pain and suffering" to her son, saying he never deserved such a fate, video footage from the hearing showed.

McCrery pleaded guilty in November to second-degree murder.

McCrery, who had a history of depression, had been suicidal on her road trip to New England from Texas, said Susan Morrell, New Hampshire senior assistant attorney general.

McCrery contemplated killing her son because she did not believe any relatives were able to raise him nor did she want to place him with another family or a child welfare agency, Morrell said.

McCrery told police she gave her son cold medicine that made him drowsy and then smothered him with pillows on the floor of their motel room, Morrell told the court.

"She stated that her son struggled by flailing his arms and kicking his legs for three to four minutes until becoming lifeless," Morrell said.

Prosecutors said McCrery had intended to kill herself and had begun eating poisonous castor beans she bought in Maine but stopped.

After her son's death, McCrery put his body in her pickup truck and drove to Maine where she disposed of it, prosecutors said.

Following a multistate manhunt, police located McCrery at the rest stop using descriptions from witnesses about the pickup truck seen near the child's body.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Daniel Trotta)