Texas Mother Charged With Murder In Death Of Son In NH

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (CBS) – A mother from Texas was formally charged with two felony counts of second-degree murder Thursday in the death of her 6-year-old son.

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-TV’s Beth Germano 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 NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz reports from Portsmouth

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.

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson reports.

Earlier Thursday, McCrery’s attorney said his client is suicidal and wants to “be in heaven with her son.”

McCrery, 42, of Irving, Texas, was arrested in Massachusetts Wednesday night for the death of her son, Camden Pierce Hughes on May 14.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports from Concord

Hughes’s body was found Saturday evening along a road in South Berwick, Maine.  A nationwide search was launched to find his identity.

Related Story: Mystery Boy Identified As Camden Pierce Hughes

Truck driver Stephen Scipione of Leominster told WBZ-TV 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.

Related Story: Leominster Truck Driver Spotted McCrery At Rest Stop

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.”

Murphy said she did not admit to him she killed her boy, even though police told him she “confessed to this in detail.”

Related Story: Who Is Julianne McCrery?

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.

Related Story: Texas School Mourns Camden Pierce Hughes

A school district representative from Irving, Texas told KTVT in Dallas that McCrery called her son’s school 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.

She was charged late Wednesday with second-degree murder in New Hampshire.

McCrerry was ordered held without bail Thursday in Portsmouth.  She is due in Hampton District Court for a probable cause hearing on May 26.

More from Bernice Corpuz
  • Lan Nanigian

    She may WANT to go to heaven to be with her son…But I have a feeling that’s that exactly where she’ll end up. My prayers are that her son(s) and family left behind can find peace somehow. I think she needs to live in her own private hell that SHE has created for herself. She deserves no mercy.

    • Stephen

      She wants to go to Heaven? I would consider that a very special request in her situation, which most likely won’t be granted. However, by stating she wants to go to heaven she’s really implying that she wants to die. Therefore, seeing that she’s on the same page with a majority of the people who would like to see her in the electric chair, lets grant her the wish and rid society of this animal before she kills another innocent child.
      I will keep this boy in my prayers.

      • shannon

        i dont think she will go to heaven, regardless..what she did to this little boy is unforgivable.. she will be going to prison to live a long life in GENERAL POPULATION….. atleast she will get some of what she deserves….

    • al4624

      doubt it will be heaven where she goes!!

  • Ed Dracut

    Your son is in heaven. However you are headed to a slightly warmer place.

  • Dee

    I believe the inmates will take care of her. It won’t be heaven, but it sure will be hell.

    • Irish68

      Sadly in most correctional facilities child murderers and molesters are housed together for their own protection, they eat/sleep and play protected from the general population.

  • C

    She is clearly severely mentally ill. While I hope the courts show her no mercy, I do think it’s really sad.

  • Denise

    She had enough time to make that want come true – since she sent her son to heaven! Apparently she didn’t want it for herself that bad! I don’t know if mentally ill is the answer or just selfish!



  • K

    While I don’t excuse what she did, anyone who has had experience with depression and mental illness knows what it can do to a person. Based on reports of witnesses, she clearly adored her son. I don’t think she is an evil person, just a really sick person and to at least some extent she could not help what she did. I find it sad and shocking that so many rush to judgement without having been in her shoes. “Thou shalt not judge” means something and courts have insanity defenses because there are some legitimate cases such as this. I think that we as a society are numb to this because there are those who play the system and use that defense to get away with clear intent. But this doesn’t justify the lack of compassion that I am hearing in response to this case. It is a great tragedy for that little boy, but he is not the only victim. Mental illness is not a talltale, it is very real. And for those of you who judge, God forbid you ever find yourself in a similar situation. My heart and prayers go out to the remaining family and friends of that little boy. Hopefully this will teach us all to look out for and care about our neighbors. If someone in Texas had, this little boy might still be alive and his mother getting the help she needed.

    • David F. Bassi

      Just like a woman to feel sorrow for a killer who couldn’t be bothered. You write how it’s a tragedy for the little boy but you could care less!

      • Ren

        David, I venture a guess that K cares more for people than you ever will. And by the way…how do you know “K” is a woman? I hope you are wrong. I’d lke to believe there are some compassionate, intelligent men out there, but people like you make me less certain all the time…
        “K” is just expressing that this formerly loviing, doting mother suddenly acted in a way counter to the self she had previously displayed to the people that knew her and her little boy, which showes some decline in mental function. This is obvious, not conjecture.

      • David F. Bassi

        Ya, I’m sorry I wrote this reply. It’s a case of mind over heart.

      • Mary Beth

        Just like a man to have no idea what a woman is talking about.

      • David F Bassi

        Ya Mary Beth, I rewrote my replay before I had Ren’s reply in frount of me.

      • David

        And lets not punish her because she punished herself enough! Right Ren!

      • Susan

        Regardless of you writing your reply before Ren, it just goes to show your ignorance and sexist attitude toward women in general. I’m sure your mother would be very proud.

      • David

        Susan, you just go running around the country defending women who are murderous killers to children and slam me because you think I’m a sexist. Hmmm, now where is your mind set.

      • Susan

        DAVID, I don’t recall defending this woman but PLEASE DO point out where that happened because I’d be interested to see where I said in ANY WAY that killing kids is ok, smarty pants. What this woman did was deplorable and I think she should rot in jail for it for the rest of her life. My comment had nothing to do with this subject and was SOLELY to point out that you’re a sexist because of your “just like a woman” comment. The 1940’s called, they want their gender discrimination back.

        Oh, and just for the record, you will NEVER win a battle of wits with me so don’t bother trying. And get your facts straight before commenting because you’re just making yourself look even more ignorant than you did in the initial post.

    • ProudMomma&StepMomma

      I understand living with mental illnesses, I myself have multiple mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and bipolar. I also have a 6 year old, an 8 year old, an 11 year old step daughter, a 4 year old step son, a 3 year old step son and custody of my 17 year oldd niece. I live EACH AND EVERYDAY FOR THOSE KIDS. THEY ARE MY REASON FOR WAKING UP, I would NEVER EVER think of hurting them in any way, shape or form. People like her do not deserve to be called mothers, She is a monster. There is help for people with mental illnesses if they want to get it. Having a mental illness is no excise what so ever for what she did. And you are right that handsome little boy is not the only victim BUT SHE DAMN WELL IS NOT A VICTIM the rest of the family that little boy left behind is. I hope they give her life without the possibilty of parole because I think that would be more justice than killing her, then she would have to live everyday thinking about what she did to her son.

    • Becky

      Hello K! This woman killed her innocent 6 year old child! I work and has made it my career to work with mentally and physically ill people. This is woman KILLED her son. She had enough sense to her to call his school daily to report he was sick and would not be in school that day. She also had a psych eval and was deemed competent to stand trial. You’re reading way too much into this for her to be so mentally ill. This was premeditated MURDER of a SIX YEAR OLD CHILD. No.. there is NO mercy for her.

      • Islay

        She is only being charged with second degree….second degree murder charge is the absence of premeditation.
        We have so few facts of the actual murder it’s only speculative to say she planned it. The State believes otherwise, or believes they can’t prove it was premeditated.

    • John L

      Has she been found mentally ill already? I find it very convenient that when people commit a horrific crime, like this one, they suddenly discover a previousl unknown/diagnosed mental illness,
      and lets dispense with the She was a good mother quotes, she killed her son and left him by the side of the road.

      • Katie R.

        Tru mental illness is something that /normal/ people can’t even begin to fathom. I am a walking testament to that…. I came from a good, stable home, have loving parents, I have a loving husband, I am an RN, and I have never had a dark day in my life until after the birth of my daughter last year. Within two weeks of her birth I didn’t recognize myself at all. I didn’t eat, bathe, didn’t want to hold her, didn’t want to feed her, had irrational fears that people were in my house trying to get me, the whole nine yards. I lost 30 pounds in less than a month and couldn’t get out of bed most days. I was never violent towards my baby, but extremely ambivalent, and mercifully my husband, mother, and motherinlaw recognized that and didn’t leave me alone with her for months on end. It took over a year for me to feel 50% of ‘normal’ again, with support, therapy, and antidepressants. I still have off days.

        Even if she didn’t deliberately kill him, the shock of realizing that she did was probably enough to snap her right over the line into outright psychosis.

      • KM

        i agree, she should be shown no mercy! If you have a mental illness, then you go to someone. It does not validate killing your child!I hope that she has to sit in prison for the rest of her life. The death penalty is the easy way out, she will never have to think about it again, if she sits in prison hopefully she will be haunted by her actions every single day. and i do not think “god” would be too happy about her actions and don’t think he would validate it either.Thank goodness she was caught before she had the chance to harm anyone else in her family.Karma can be ugly and i hope in her case karma is a monster! she deserves every bad comment being said .And this is coming from a very very peaceful person. Lets all hope that she goes away forever.Rest in peace you beautiful little boy, unfortunately he had to pay the ultimate price of his life.He never even had a chance to live yet.

    • Cheryl Jacobsen

      I don’t know if this women is mentally ill or not. I have this sence that she wasn’t in for such a long trip with a 6 year old and may have given him a overdose of this med. to keep him quite,not intending on the outcome. By no means if this is right does it make this any less heartbreaking. And for the people that are judging her to hell–God is the only one that can do this .If she asks for forgiveness through Jesus–she will be forgiven. A lot of you will probably damn me for saying these things. I’m not religious , but very spiritual. So what I have to say to the people that don’t have an open mind is–Read the Bible ,your not the judge of her afterlife, As for the beautiful little boy, I’m sure we all wish him back unharmed ,but he is with God now and happy,although we feel the pain of lose, his family are the ones we need to pray for now and yes we should as decant people also pray for the mother.

    • amy

      Mentally ill or not if you can’t handle your children drop them off to someone who can. You do not kill kids. I do feel bad that the mom has problems but there is nothing that makes this ok in anyway. She should of gotten help or not had children in the first place. This woman may be mentally ill but she has an evil side too!!!

    • David

      Susan, I was saying I was sorry for miss using my words plan and simple which you couldn’t get without seeing the words. So you can write wit, can you read it, or do the words have to be in plane English. I’m sorry for the words I used but will never feel anything towards a woman who kills a child or one who comes to the defences of such a despicable piece of trash.

      • Susan

        So I ask you again to point out where I defended the psycho who killed her kid. Apparently you’re the one who has trouble reading plain (not plane – that would be a craft with wings that people board to fly from one place to another) English since you can’t differentiate between someone pointing out your ignorant, misogynistic comment and someone coming to the defense of a child-killer. And I think you referring to your words as “wit” is a bit of a stretch, don’t you?

  • Mike

    If she really wanted to die….she would have done it…she had 3 days from the time she killed her innocent son to take her life and she didn’t! I’m a little skeptical about her ex-boyfriend…..when he was interviewed he said that Camden was in a better place now……I found that very strange to say something like that….I think he knows more than he’s saying

  • David F. Bassi

    She’s not ill or she couldn’t conceive the trip she made. The Feds need to take over this case so she gets burned!!!!

    • Mary Beth

      Are you saying that if she was mentally ill she wouldn’t have been able to drive from Texas?

      • David

        No! I’m saying she knew what she was doing which should be capital murder. You on the other hand remind me of a jury that let a mother in another state out three different times only to kill her children again. After that they found 5 more of her children buried in her back yard.

      • Randy Price

        I agree with Dave. Mary Beth, it is the mine set of people like you that allow these type of tragedies to happen.

  • paula antunes

    I agree with you Mike. I found that very weird when the ex boyfriend said that as well. It makes me think he does no more about the mother. It makes me think that the little boy was not in good arms as far as the mother goes

  • shotime

    Why second degree murder? I heard she told her mother on the phone with her earlier in the week that they had both been sick. So now I ask, did she accidently give him too much cough medicine without the intent of an overdose, or did she mean to kill him? If it’s the later and it was contemplated, then why isn’t she being charged with first degree murder?

  • Wizard

    We’re dealing with Religious Fanatics here, both the mother and the BF.
    The world ends on the 21st, etc.
    They are not normal…

    • Rastignac

      I am more than fed up with religious fanatics from Texas who kill their children. There was Andrea Yates; then the mother who killed her two sons in the middle of the night by smashing their heads with rocks in the yard because God told her to; now this one, found in her truck in Chelmsford while reading a bible.

    • Islay

      I can’t help but wonder of people stopped believing in “heaven” and an afterlife they might stop using it as an excuse to commit unspeakable acts while walking around on Earth.

  • http://boston.cbslocal.com/2011/05/19/texas-school-mourning-death-of-camden-pierce-hughes/ Texas School Mourning Death Of Camden Pierce Hughes « CBS Boston

    […] “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. Read: Attorney: McCrery Wants ‘To Be In Heaven With Son’ […]

  • B's Fan

    Guys lets stop the fighting and remeber Camden as a beautiful little boy whoms life was taken from him so suddenly by his own mother.

  • Michelle Dovishaw

    Why is it that everytime a female kills her child(ren), she is depressed or mental. Just like the female in Texas that killed her 5 children in a period of hours. She chased the around and drowned them… These need to fry these wenches. They give real women and real mothers who have suffered from post partum and regular depression a bad name… i will definitely flip the switch on old sparky. Remember Susan Smith from SC. drove her sons into the lake cause she didn’t want her husband to get them… come on society stop feeling remorse and sympathy for the mothers and give sympathy where it belongs… the surviving families and children who were MURDERED!!!

  • http://boston.cbslocal.com/2011/05/19/truck-driver-spotted-julianne-mccrery-at-chelmsford-rest-stop/ Truck Driver Spotted Julianne McCrery At Chelmsford Rest Stop « CBS Boston

    […] “As soon as I drove in, I noticed a blue Toyota with ‘Navy’ around the back plate … pulled over and checked it out … lady laying down in the front seat .. that’s when i decided to call 911,” said Scipione. Read: Attorney: Julianne McCrery Wants ‘To Be In Heaven With Son’ […]

  • Donna

    I agree with B’s Fan – we all need to remember how special Camden was.
    What I don’t understand is, if the medicine was an accidental overdose, why didn’t she bring him to emergency? Fear maybe who knows. But the way he was dumped along a secluded area or dumped for that matter is wrong and I don’t have sympathy for anyone who does this, male or female.

    • ksn112

      I agree….. it may have been an accidental over dose….but I doubt it !!!!!! Why was she in New England, and act like she was back in Texas when talking to her boyfriend and mother…..Even if she does have psych issues, she still took a life. If someone is drunk ( they are not in correct state of mind) and kills someone in an auto accident…..they pay the price for it. Why should she be any different…..

  • Dianne

    I have worked in the mental health field for years. It is about time that the law be changed to “GUILTY BY REASON OF INSANITY” rather than not guilty. All people including the mentally ill need to be responsible for their behavior.

    • Becky

      Thankyou Dianne!! Exactly!!!

    • dan


    • Judy Introini O

      I agree, guilty by reson of insanity! Of course someone who KILLS anyone, especially a child, is INSANE…it’s not an excuse…this woman is intelligent and although she may be sick…she could have killed herself. Not the young man who could not defend himself and who hadn’t lived his life… she should have protected him or brought him somewhere where someone could care for him…..

  • kc

    first of all she states that she overdosed him autopsy said he was sufficated we need to believe autopsy not her also i have mental illness an mother of two beautiful daughters an in my worse state would never even think of hurting them she doesnt deserve to die thats the easy way out the deserves to stay alive an be tortured an suffer for what she did my prays r with him an his family take out the step dad cause he knew something his statement said that

  • dan


    • Judy Introini O

      The death penalty is to easy for her…

  • Judy Introini O

    She wants to go to Heaven? nope, say hi to the devil for me…let Camden be in peace without you….

  • dan


  • John

    the coroner said Camden died of asphyxiation. Maybe she overdosed him on cough medicine so he’d be unaware & unresponsive when she choked him. She’s clearly a coward and didn’t want to see the terror in her baby’s eyes as she killed him. This clearly was premeditated 1st degree murder. DEATH PENALTY.

    • Kimberly


      The thought never occured to me that she may have given him the cough syrup in order to subdue him so she could suffocate him. I wish you hadn’t written that. I feel sick to my stomach now…

  • tigtii

    Sure hope this chick gets everything she has coming to her!

  • Shari

    What is wrong with you people? As a mother of 5, I could never take the life of any of them-even through post-partum depression; she was clear of mind to drive -what 3 days?- from Texas to NH/Maine, supposedly ill with a cold herself, to “accidentally” overdose him & then asphyxiate him? Please! She deserves the same fate as poor Camden…left by the side of the road like the trash she felt he was. Product of her prostitution run, perhaps? Plenty of childless/infertile couples who would have gladly taken him off her hands.

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