PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (CBS) – A mother from Irving was formally charged with two felony counts of second-degree murder Thursday in the death of her 6-year-old son in New Hampshire.
Prosecutors say Julianne McCrery “knowingly and recklessly” caused the death of her son Camden Pierce Hughes by asphyxiation. No other details were revealed at her arraignment in Portsmouth District Court.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Bernice Corpuz reports:
She did not enter a plea and responded “yes, ma’am” when Judge Sawako Tachibana Gardner asked her if she wanted a court-appointed attorney.
WBZ-TV’s Sera Congi reports:
It was the second time in a day McCrery appeared before a judge.
She was arraigned in Concord, Mass. District Court on a fugitive of justice charge Thursday morning. She waived rendition and was taken to New Hampshire.
Earlier Thursday, McCrery’s attorney said his client is suicidal and wants to “be in heaven with her son.”
WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Carl Stevens reports:
McCrery, 42, of Irving, was arrested in Massachusetts Wednesday night for the death of her son, Camden Pierce Hughes on May 14.
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Hughes’s body was found Saturday evening along a road in South Berwick, Maine. A nationwide search was launched to find his identity.
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Truck driver Stephen Scipione of Leominster told WBZ-TV in Boston he spotted McCrery at a rest stop off I-495 in Chelmsford Wednesday morning and called 911. State police arrived and took her into custody at the barracks in Concord. Sources told WBZ-TV that McCrery admitted to killing her son.
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She was examined at Emerson Hospital and brought back to the Concord barracks, where she met with her attorney, George Murphy.
He told reporters Thursday McCrery was crying and suicidal.
“She wanted to be in heaven with her son,” Murphy said. “She kept saying it over and over again – I want to die.”
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Murphy said she did not admit to him she killed her boy, even though police told him she “confessed to this in detail.”
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An autopsy performed in Maine determined her son died of asphyxiation. It was ruled a homicide.
Sources told WBZ-TV that McCrery said she gave her son an overdose of cough syrup that resulted in his death. New Hampshire prosecutors would not confirm that in a news conference Thursday afternoon.
Police spent much of Wednesday evening searching a room at the Stone Gable Inn on Route 1 in Hampton, New Hampshire where McCrery had been staying recently.
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Irving ISD’s Pat Lamb told CBSDFW that McCrery called her son’s school, W.T. Hanes Elementary in Irving Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to say her son would not be there because he was sick. The call on Wednesday came about an hour before police found McCrery.
CBS 11′s Andrea Lucia Reports:
Grief counselors were on hand at the school Thursday to talk with classmates of Camden, who was in Kindergarten.
But, according to Lamb, no one ever suspected this.
“I can tell ya a number of teachers just openly wept this morning as they thought about Camden and the possibility that we lost him,” said Lamb.
NewsRadio 1080 KRLD’s Emily Trube Reports:
Lamb said he didn’t know Camden personally, but spoke with his teacher, who was devastated by the news of the boy’s death.
“(Camden’s teacher) described him as a little blond-haired, blue-eyed ball of fire. He was a gifted and talented student. He loved learning. She described him as a sponge, and when he walked into a room, he literally lit it up,” said Lamb.
Lamb added that there are grief counselors on hand at the school for students and staff.
“His classmates are gonna miss him. His teachers are grieving; they’re hurting, but in his honor, and in his memory, this school, these teachers are gonna engage this process of teaching and learning with passion today and throughout the rest of the year.
John Durham, a pastor at First Baptist Church of Irving, issued a statement about Camden Wednesday:
“Camden was a very bright, very enthusiastic and very articulate young boy. He was very curious about things in the Bible and was eager to learn. He was in Children’s Sunday School as recently as May 1 here at First Baptist Irving. As a church we are mourning his death, and are truly leaning into God’s promises and God’s presence. We remembered together last night as a church that Jesus loves children.”
McCrery was charged late Wednesday with second-degree murder in New Hampshire and was ordered held without bail Thursday in Portsmouth. She is due in court for a probable cause hearing on May 26.