BRENTWOOD, N.H. – A Texas woman was sentenced Friday to 45 years in prison for suffocating her 6-year-old son in a New Hampshire motel room and leaving his body along a dirt road in Maine.
Julianne McCrery, 42, of Irving, Texas, told prosecutors she had planned to kill herself and that she killed her son, Camden Hughes, because no one else was fit to raise him. But prosecutors say they have evidence McCrery felt the boy was an inconvenience, and that she planned to go about her own life after killing him.
McCrery spoke tearfully at her sentencing hearing, calling her son beautiful and brilliant.
"I am sorry to have caused the intense pain and suffering to my precious son Camden," she said. "He did nothing whatsoever to deserve that by my hand, and he was not an inconvenience to me."
McCrery pleaded guilty in November to kneeling atop her son as he laid face-down on their motel room floor. She told investigators she covered his mouth with her hand as he struggled to survive.
On Friday, she said it has taken a while for her grief to fully unfold, but now it is "excruciating."
The discovery of Camden's body last May set off a nationwide effort to identify him. Meanwhile, McCrery called his elementary school in 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.
McCrery's family members -- including a son on leave from the Navy -- attended the sentencing.