Texas mom sentenced to 45 years for killing her 6-year-old son

RENTWOOD, N.H. (AP) — A Texas woman was sentenced Friday to 45 years in prison for suffocating her 6-year-old son in a New Hampshire motel room and leaving his body along a dirt road in Maine.

Boys Roadside Body
AP Photo/Jim Cole (file)

In this Thursday May 19, 2011 file photo Julianne McCrery, 42, of Irving, Texas, arrives in District Court in Portsmouth, N.H. McCrery was charged with killing her six-year-old son. McCrery a Texas woman who suffocated her 6-year-old son in a New Hampshire motel room and left his body by a road in Maine may shed light on her motives before being sentenced to 45 years in prison.

The discovery of Camden Hughes' body last May set off a nationwide effort to identify him. Meanwhile, his mother, Julianne McCrery, called his kindergarten daily to report him absent with appendicitis.

McCrery, 42, of Irving, Texas, later told prosecutors she had planned to kill herself and that she killed Camden because no one else was fit to raise him. But prosecutors say they have evidence McCrery felt the boy was an inconvenience and that she planned to go about her own life after killing him.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Susan Morrell questioned McCrery's assertion that she planned to kill herself by ingesting potentially lethal castor beans. Morrell pointed out that McCrery had attempted suicide several years earlier by the same means and had failed.

"This case raises more questions than there are answers for," Morrell said.

McCrery spoke tearfully at her sentencing hearing, calling her son "extraordinary."

"I am very sorry to have caused the intense pain and suffering to my precious son Camden," she said. "He did nothing whatsoever to deserve that by my hand, and he was not an inconvenience to me.

"My sorrow is intense and unbearable."

Defense attorney Julia Nye said an insanity defense was considered, but McCrery rejected that option.

"She chose to accept responsibility for her actions," Nye said.

McCrery pleaded guilty in November to kneeling atop her son as he laid face-down on the floor of their motel room floor in Hampton, N.H. She told investigators she covered his mouth with her hand as he struggled to survive. Morrell said the pressure McCrery applied to Camden was so great it bruised one lung and the base of his skull.

McCrery's son and brother both told her during remarks to the court that they love and forgive her. Her brother, Chris Hughes, asked Superior Court Judge Tina Nadeau to shorten the sentence a bit so her other son, Ian McCrery, "might possibly have some time with her."

Nadeau held to the agreed upon 45-year sentence, adding, "There's nothing I can say here today to lessen the devastation."

Julianne McCrery thanked a family from South Berwick, Maine, for discovering Camden's body and later starting a children's charity in his memory. She called them "angels on earth" for trying to bring some comfort to her son.

Lisa Gove was en route to her in-laws' house on a remote road on May 14 when she noticed a pickup truck with its doors open, bearing a Navy insignia. She and her in-laws soon discovered his body, which was under a green blanket 30 feet from the road.

Gove's detailed description of the truck and the Navy insignia led a driver at a Chelmsford, Mass., truck stop to spot McCrery's truck on May 18 with her inside.

When she was questioned, McCrery identified herself and told police she had killed her son at a Hampton motel and left his body under a green blanket by the side of the road.

"Life as I knew it ended May 18, 2011," her mother, Lu Rae McCrery, told the judge Friday. "Camden's life, I believe, was taken in a misguided moment. We will never be whole again."

Lu Rae McCrery said after court that she had at least one phone conversation with her daughter but had no idea she had left Texas with Camden and had driven to New England.

Without Gove's chance observation, Morrell said, "it was highly unlikely he would have been found."

Julianne McCrery said it has taken a while for her grief to fully unfold, but now it is "excruciating."

Texas public records show that she was arrested at least twice on prostitution charges and once for possession with intent to distribute drugs. In 2009, she was sentenced to one year in prison for a misdemeanor conviction of prostitution. In 2004, she was sentenced to three years of probation for a felony conviction of possession of a controlled substance.

Morrell acknowledged that McCrery did not have an easy life but said investigators could not determine what led her to consider suicide. McCrery spent the drive from Texas to New England contemplating how she would kill her son, the prosecutor said.

She said McCrery extinguished a bright star "before he even had the chance to graduate from kindergarten."

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 's picture

WHY NOT.....

Save the State a WHOLE bunch of $$ on this Human waste project & instead of giving free FREE Medical,FREE Dental...3 square meals a day & free Clothing... someone give her a eye for an eye & suffocate HER like she did to her OWN 6 YO defenseless SON!!!!

 's picture

They should paper the inside

They should paper the inside of her cell with pictures of her son.

 's picture

I hope they put her in

I hope they put her in general populations...She doesn't deserve to live...

MICHAEL FOX's picture

45 Years may as well be 45 days

She deserves to die. It is unfair that she knowingly, by her own hand, took her sons life, and she continues to live. The Death Penalty needs to be re-instated for cases just like this one.

Denisa Laflamme's picture

all about the cost

New Hampshire does have the death penalty,problem is it costs more to sentence someone to die then to keep them in prison for 45 years.....

Jim Cyr's picture

All about cost

It's all about politics and being correct. NO WAY should it be more expensive for the death penalty then 40 years. Anybody that believes that is living in a dream world or you don't have a mind of your own !! You believe the "The Lame Stream Media" PABLUM as gospel.

Denisa Laflamme's picture

No Dreamworld here sorry

fact is if you sentence someone to death row they can fight it for many many years the cost of attorneys fees and taking care of them adds up, and the prisoner doesn't have to pay a dime for any of it because he has the right to fight to live unfortunately. Sentencing someone to 45 years is cheaper because they can only file so many appeals with the help of a public defender and a private attorney costs the prisoner or prisoners family. So you see it is not that I or anyone else who believes this lives in a fantasy world it is just the way it is unfortunately...do I think that this sick n twisted person should live NO I DON'T....now if this animal really wanted to die she would have committed this crime in her home state because most likely she would have gotten the death penalty because they can afford to pay until she dies, but Mr. Cyr before you say that people live in dream world or we don't have minds of our own do your research please because I have, as a college student taking classes in a Criminal Justice program I have done the research and have also done comparisons on crimes between the different states and the sentencing criteria....this woman knew what she was doing by coming to Maine and New Hampshire....

Jim Cyr's picture

Dream world

If a jury of your peers find you guilty of such a violent crime, then the buck needs to stop there, especially with all the evidence, there is no need for any appeal. Why should there be any ?? You are guilty of the crime then all bets are off, no free lunch !!

Jason Theriault's picture

Potassium chloride

She needed 1000ccs of Potassium chloride

I truly hate this woman. I'm glad this will hopefully be the last time I ever see her image.

 's picture


A person such as this certainly does not belong anywhere in society. She doesn't even deserve prison. Prison is too good for her. She deserves to die the same way her innocent little boy did.


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