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Friday, November 21, 2014

Two Stories of Desperate Mothers

Two Stories of Desperate Mothers
By Leslie Watkins, Intern
The Cochran Firm

A mother will do what is best to protect her child, but when that decision results in death, the law will adjudicate the liable party. Gigi Jordan, a millionaire medical entrepreneur with an autistic eight-year-old son, Jude Mirra, received a conviction of manslaughter for his death.

Jordan had faced the possibility of life in prison but received a lesser charge of manslaughter allowing a term between 5 and 25 years. Her defense team was able to prove Jordan’s circumstances for killing her son as being under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance.

Circumstances surrounding the killing of Mirra replayed repeatedly as the defense and prosecution teams presented the facts to the jury. The defense claimed Jordan was a desperate mother who believed she was protecting her son from two ex-husbands. One ex-husband affiliated with a mob threatened to kill her. The other ex-husband, a yoga instructor, sexually abused her son. The ex-husbands received no charges nor alleged the claims to be true, despite Jordan reporting the abuse to her therapist and local authorities.

Initially, as laid out by the defense, Jordan checked into a hotel on the day of her son’s death using only cash without a reservation. She used a syringe to force painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs mixed with vodka and orange juice down her son’s throat and then made a failed attempt to end her own life by overdosing on the pills.

Jurors found the evidence presented during trial convincing, as Jordan killed her son under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance rather than with intent to kill, resulting in the murder of her own son. Jordan’s defense team is looking to file a motion for a retrial.

Another mother living in Oregon with an autistic 6-year-old son also received charges of manslaughter in addition to murder for killing her son. Jillian McCabe took her son, London, for a walk and threw him off the bridge into Yaquina Bay, shortly after calling 911 to report her actions.

McCabe’s family said she was under extreme emotional stress after becoming the main family caregiver after the loss of her father, the recent decline in her husband’s health, and the uphill battle of caring for her autistic son. She had attempted suicide several times and told the psychiatrist she was hearing voices again. After London’s diagnosis of severe autism, McCabe created a blog sharing London’s life, often expressing her frustrations because London was different but thanking generous strangers who helped the family financially.

At the time of their son’s killing, each mother seemed convinced that it was the morally right thing to do. From very different social and economic backgrounds, both women suffered from extreme emotional distress and had exhibited suicidal behaviors. It was not enough that both troubled women sought psychiatric help. The fates of the boys’ lives were in their mothers’ hand, and both lives sadly ended in tragedy.

Even though in the mind of each mother, desperate circumstances justified ending their son’s lives, these deaths are still criminal. The state of a mother’s despair does not provide a means by law to justify killing a child, even one afflicted with a disability, a disorder, a disease, or a syndrome.

posted by The Cochran Firm at 10:23 AM

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