"I hated the autism so, so much..."

"I wanted to take the autism out of her."

From WMBD Central Illinois Television:

McCarron: I was overwhelmed and wanted to take the Autism out of her

Reported by: Sarah Barwacz - WMBD/WYZZ TV
Tuesday, Jun 5, 2007 @05:13pm

WMBD/WYZZ TV - PEKIN -- A Morton woman accused of murdering her autistic daughter said in a taped confession that she was overwhelmed and wanted to take the autism out of her child.

A Tazewell County judge heard Karen McCarron's taped confession in court Tuesday afternoon.

Mccarron's attorney is trying to have the confession thrown out.

The defense says the confession is no good because McCarrron was hospitalized when interviewed by police.

In the tape, McCarron admitted to suffocating her daughter with a plastic bag, then putting her back to bed.

The father, Paul McCarron also testified in court, saying he encouraged his wife Karen to tell police the truth.

The judge hasn't ruled whether the tape will be admitted in McCarron's trial.

McCarron has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.

From the Pekin Daily Times:

Confession video airs at McCarron hearing

By Ryan Ferguson, Times correspondent
Published: Wednesday, June 6, 2007 2:22 PM CDT

PEKIN - In a Tazewell County courtroom Tuesday, alleged murderer Karen McCarron watched a police interrogation video in which she confessed to the murder of her 3-year-old autistic daughter Katie.

The video shows Karen sitting upright in her hospital bed, legs dangling off the side. Her husband, Paul, sits next to her and holds her hand throughout the interview.

As Karen watched the tape Tuesday at a hearing in Tazewell County Circuit Court, she became visibly upset, rocking back and forth and wiping tears.

In the approximately 60-minute statement taped May 15, 2006, two days after the alleged killing, Karen McCarron, who appears calm on the tape, says she had "wanted a life without autism."

"Autism left me hollow," she says in the statement taped at the OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria. McCarron was being treated for an attempted overdose of an over-the-counter medication.

"It seems that everything I tried to do didn't help her. She was a tough nut to crack," McCarron says of her daughter on the tape. "I didn't know what to do. She was not learning at a rate I would expect."

Karen McCarron, 38, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of obstructing justice and one count of concealment of a homicidal death in the 2006 death of her daughter Katherine.

At the hearing to consider supressing statements made by Karen McCarron and doctors who interviewed her, Paul McCarron was called to the stand to give additional testimony.

He testified as to why he was sitting next to his wife during the police interrogation. "There was a part of me that wanted to hear the truth one more time," he said.

In the videotaped confession, Morton Detective Ray Ham questions Karen from a chair next to the bed for about an hour, after she had waived her Miranda rights.

The line of Ham's questioning led to the following information in Karen's videotaped statement:

On the day of Katie's death, Karen had taken her daughter for a car ride. This was a common practice, as it helped Katie to fall asleep for her afternoon naps.

The first stop for the two was at Karen's parents' house. It was there where she allegedly smothered the 3-year-old with a white plastic garbage bag. Afterward, Karen threw the bag into the garbage and left the house, with Katie in her car seat.

After purchasing ice cream at Kroger, she returned to her parents' house to get the plastic bag used to allegedly suffocate her daughter. She then took the bag to Casey's General Store and disposed of it in the garbage can outside the store.

Once back at her house, Karen carried Katie upstairs to the child's room as if the little girl were sleeping. Because Katie had soiled herself during the death, Karen changed her diaper before putting the child to bed.

When Ham asked her if she knew what she was doing was wrong, Karen replied, "Yes."

Later that day when Karen went upstairs as if to wake her daughter, she started screaming because Katie was dead.

At that point, Karen tried contacting her husband Paul, who was on his way back from working in North Carolina. The last time Paul spoke to his wife by telephone that night, he was in Pontiac, Karen said on the video.

In the time it took for Paul to reach Morton from Pontiac, Karen had taken between 30 and 40 Tylenol pills in an attempt at suicide. After taking the pills, she wrote a note, which police later found in the Bible in the master bedroom.

"I love Paul, and I love my daughters very much, and I tried very hard," Karen said in the video. "I was overwhelmed.

"I hated the autism so, so much" she said later in the video.

The suicidal action landed Karen in the hospital bed at OSF St. Francis, where the statement was videotaped by Morton detectives.

Karen's friend Sue Grimm, testified Tuesday to events prior to Karen's videotaped confession. Grimm had visited Karen at the hospital and recommended to Karen that she seek legal assistance, and that is when, according to Grimm, Paul grabbed her by the arm and showed her from the room.

Following the airing of the tape, Paul was called to the witness stand. He said he never contacted an attorney because at the time of the interview, he wanted her to tell the truth.

"I always thought that telling the truth was the best course," Paul said, adding that he wasn't thinking about the situation from a legal standpoint.

Paul went on to testify that it was not his desire to see Karen punished for what she had allegedly done.

"I was still in shock," he said, crying. "I still to this day do not know what should be done."

Both the prosecutors and Marc D. Wolfe, Karen's defense attorney, rested their cases at the motion to suppress hearing on Tuesday afternoon.

Her attorney last month filed two motions to suppress statements given by Karen and doctors who interviewed her after her arrest.

The first motion asks the court to bar as evidence any statements made by Karen prior to, at the time of, or subsequent to her arrest.

The second motion alleges that two doctors' testimonies would be a violation of the physician-client privilege.

Judge Stephen Kouri will hear arguments from both parties at 10 a.m. June 28 before deciding what evidence will be admissible at trial.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


From the Pekin Journal-Star:

Tapes played in murder case: Accused mother says she wanted 'life without autism'

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

PEKIN - The Morton mother accused of suffocating her 3-year-old autistic daughter had thoughts about killing the child before - she said she "wanted a life without autism," according to her videotaped hospital room confession.

"It seems that everything I tried to do didn't help her. She was a tough nut to crack," Karen McCarron said on the tape. "I didn't know what to do . . . she was not learning at a rate I would expect . . ."

McCarron went on to tell Morton police Katherine "Katie" McCarron was "detached," mentally disconnected and being vocal May 13, 2006, the day she allegedly killed her.

"It's just really heartbreaking," McCarron confessed of Katie's disconnect.

"Autism left me hollow," a soft-spoken McCarron said during the May 15 interview from her hospital room at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria. She was being treated for an attempted overdose of extra-strength Tylenol and had a small scratch on her wrist from a kitchen knife.

The tape was played in Tazewell County Circuit Court Tuesday during a hearing to suppress evidence in the year-old case.

Police testified McCarron appeared calm and coherent when she made the confessions, was not under arrest and did not request an attorney.

As the hourlong confession played, McCarron, 38, became increasingly distraught and upset. She kept her head bowed and rocked back and forth between wiping tears as she listened to her own account of the day's events and the family's struggles with autism.

Katie McCarron had returned home to Morton earlier that month after spending 18 months in Raleigh, N.C., attending a clinic that specialized in autism treatment. Katie McCarron had been living with her father, Paul McCarron, and Karen McCarron stayed with their then 2-year-old daughter in Morton, though she often would visit her husband and Katie.

In her confession, Karen McCarron recalled fixing lunch for her two children May 13 and taking Katie, who was "not very focused," for a car ride to her mother's home. There, the pathologist let the child play before allegedly killing her with a garbage bag - an event she told police took about two minutes.

She then drove back to her own home, 390 Idlewood, took her lifeless child's body inside and carried her to bed. McCarron took a shower, bought ice cream at the store, drove back to her mother's house to retrieve the murder weapon and disposed of it in a gas station's garbage, McCarron stated in the confession.

Early the next day, McCarron allegedly tried to overdose on Tylenol, and police said they found a note penned by McCarron in a Bible on the bathroom floor that indicated her desire not to live. She then admitted to her husband, who had just returned from North Carolina, that she killed their daughter, police said.

Police, called to the McCarron home by concerned family members, found the couple sitting on the floor of their bedroom hugging one another. Paul McCarron was crying and Karen McCarron was sitting on her knees looking forward, Morton Police officer Brent McLean testified Tuesday.

When asked what she told her husband, Karen McCarron replied, "I told Paul I killed her," McLean said.

Later, while she was at the hospital, Karen McCarron told police she knew what she did was wrong and discussed various treatments and therapies her daughter had undergone.

Police asked if she was sorry.

"I'm so sorry. I'm sorry for everybody and I'm sorry my child is no longer here," the mother stated.

Karen McCarron is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of obstructing justice and one count of concealment of a homicidal death.

Karen McDonald can be reached at 346-5300 or kmcdonald@pjstar.com.

Have a thought on this issue? Share it by leaving a message at (309) 687-8439 or e-mailing youpage@pjstar.com.


Photographs of Katie have been made available for public use by her grandfather. Download yours here: Katie McCarron Photos

Initial news reports on Katie's murder
Daughter's murder puts focus on 'toll of autism' With a cautionary note by us on that "toll of autism" thing.
'This was not about autism', grandfather says
Katie's father files for divorce, citing 'extreme mental cruelty'
Karen McCarron admitted to planning the murder
Karen was described as 'lucid' and 'very calm'
'I wanted to take the autism out of her'
Katie's grandpa testifies: Karen thought her life would be 'perfect'. Also, Katie's dad says Karen wanted to institutionalize Katie; Katie's teachers said she was doing fine.
More analysis of the Journal-Star articles.
Murder of Autistics (Archive)

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