CONCORD, N.H. — 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 Friday, before being sentenced to 45 years in prison.
The mother of 42-year-old Julianne McCrery told The Associated Press her daughter has prepared a statement.
Lu Rae McCrery, who visited her daughter in jail Wednesday, said she believes her daughter will read the statement rather than have someone else read it.
Julianne McCrery pleaded guilty in November to kneeling atop 6-year-old Camden Hughes as he laid face-down on their motel room floor. She told investigators she covered his mouth with her hand as he flailed for several minutes.
McCrery told prosecutors she had planned to kill herself and no one else was fit to raise Camden. But prosecutors in November said they have evidence she felt Camden was an inconvenience.
“She set out on a journey with her son across the country while contemplating how she would kill him,” Senior Assistant Attorney General Susan Morrell said during the plea hearing.
Discovery of Camden’s body off a dirt road in South Berwick, Maine, in May set off a nationwide effort to identify the boy. Meanwhile, McCrery called his elementary school in Irving, Texas, daily to report him absent with appendicitis.
McCrery was arrested at a Massachusetts truck stop four days after Camden’s body was discovered. A motorist who happened by the remote area where Camden’s body was found was able to describe a pickup truck she had seen with its doors open and a Navy insignia on its window.
When she was questioned at the truck stop, 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.
During her plea hearing in November, McCrery answered the judge’s questions about her plea and her guilt in her son’s death, but did not elaborate on the killing or her motives.
Lu Rae McCrery says she and family members have been in contact with Julianne McCrery by phone, but have not been able to talk with her or her attorneys about the circumstances surrounding Camden’s death.
“In retrospect, I think we would have all healed much faster if we could have,” Lu Rae McCrery said Thursday.
McCrery’s lawyers did not return calls seeking comment.
Lu Rae McCrery said she arrived from Nebraska and visited with her daughter at the Rockingham County House of Corrections. The two were separated by a glass partition.
“It was surreal,” Lu Rae McCrery said. “We still can’t talk about the case until after Friday.”
Lu Rae McCrery said Julianne’s son —who is on leave from the Navy— will attend the hearing along with her father and brother. All three visited McCrery at the jail Thursday, she said.
Asked if anyone would make a victim impact statement on Camden’s behalf, Lu Rae McCrery said, “What I’m going to say will encompass that.”
Seeing her daughter for the first time since her arrest, McCrery said, has left her numb.
“I just feel like I’m on a piece of driftwood in the sea,” she said.