Karen McCarron Seeks New Trial, Convicted of Killing Autistic Daughter


Five years ago, Karen McCarron, an Illinois pathologist, suffocated her three-year-daughter Katherine “Katie” McCarron with a plastic bag in her mother’s house. McCarron then drove the body of her daughter back home and put her to bed as if she were asleep. She was found guilty of killing Katie in 2008, sentenced to 36 years in prison and is incarcerated at the Dwight Correctional Center.

As the Journal-Star reports, McCarron is seeking a new trial, citing ineffective defense. A year ago, McCarron lost an appeal to an Illinois appellate court. Says the Journal-Star about McCarron’s about new appeal:

An amended petition filed Wednesday in Tazewell County Court states McCarron’s then-attorney, Marc Wolfe, allowed perjured statements by McCarron’s husband to be admitted as well as a confession by Karen McCarron, which her current defense attorney claims should not have been allowed. The 26-page petition also claims Wolfe was impaired by consistent and excessive use of alcohol during trial.

Wolfe, reached by phone on Thursday, said he had not seen the petition. “Any allegation involving impairment is totally outrageous,” he said. “It’s so ridiculous, it’s not even worth a comment.

A hearing has been schedule for September 28.

The case of McCarron gripped parents of autistic children and individuals on the autism spectrum when it was first reported in 2006 and during the trial in 2008. While horrified at McCarron killing her daughter, some said the case illustrated the “burden” of caring for an autistic child and for a child with other disabilities, and that the difficulties of raising a child with a disability made what had happened to Katie “understandable.” But Michael McCarron, Katie’s grandfather, stated that

“This was not about autism. This was not about a lack of support.”

A number of parents of autistic children, including myself and autistics and disability rights advocates including Not Dead Yet emphasized that, while living with a disability has many challenges, taking the life of an individual with disabilities is never acceptable. As Michael McCarron wrote in a comment on Autism Vox:

I would like to say something about Katie. Some newspapers have reported that this was done to end Katie’s pain; let me assure you that “Katie was not in pain”. She was a beautiful, precious and happy little girl. Each day she was showered with love and returned that love with hugs, kisses and laughter. Katie loved music; she would fill in some of the words in children’s songs as my wife would sing along with the CD that would be playing, their own version of “karaoke” . She liked to dance, she loved to do the “hooky poky”. She loved being in among flowers and tall grass. She would say “I like grass”. She enjoyed the zoo and because of all of the drills and flashcards she could identify the animals. Which I thought was pretty amazing for such a young child. She was also the only little child in her non-autistic play group that could identify an octagon. My wife and son had a party for her the day they heard that from the teacher…..

Each day I ask the Lord if I could take her place, and perhaps He could return Katie to the loving arms of my son and my wife. So far that prayer has not been granted. But in the meantime I can assure you that no one will describe her murder as “understandable” or devalue her in anyway without my personal challenge to them and the organizations they represent.

Katie, who is described as “beautiful, precious and happy” by her grandfather would have celebrated her 9th birthday this past July 22.

Related Care2 Coverage

Mother Kills Self, Autistic Son, In Despair Over School Placement

Justice For Caylee: Stop Child Abuse & Neglect

Fearing Autism, Stephanie Rochester Killed Her Baby

Photo of Katie McCarron courtesy of Michael McCarron.


Joy Jin
Joy Jin6 years ago

horrible. why would she do that?

Carole L.
Carole L6 years ago

Sometimes it is impossible to figure out why people do what they do. This is one of these times. I feel great sympathy for Katie's father, grand-father and grand-mother.

Polly South
Polly South6 years ago

Yes without any shadow of a doubt it is very painful to read of this tragic little life taken for no purpose or reason - this goes without saying. I do understand this.

My previous point was trying to understand the bigger picture -- where these type of revolting things seem to be on the increase.

I recently read of another shocking case in Jersey UK where small children once again are the victims.

It seems a lot more wide spread where little ones are denied their life and I am truly upset and sad over this. Is this medication related/vaccine where gentle folk are murdering in this way.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin6 years ago

I ask: Where was the FATHER when all this happened? Did he take part in taking care of his own daughter? Or did he leave all that to his wife?

Tom Sullivan
Tom C Sullivan6 years ago

There was no reason for this,

Jessica O.
Jessica O6 years ago

There is never a reason or excuse to do this NEVER......

Polly South
Polly South6 years ago

Should one ask WHY are all these little ones have terrible conditions. .It is my true strong belif that ALL the posions in vaccines are a major source. and should be strongly questioned in there entirety. We mush ask is is truely vauled medecine. I belive it is grossly negligent to invade babies and young children and adults with cocktails of toxic shocks.
We can tell from these contents alone that is morally questionable indeed .
Recently there was the swine flu scandal where the poor little dears have to suffer with narcolepsy for the rest of there lives . and many other horrific health problems , and sometimes death -- which I class as murder . the symptoms do not always become apparent straight away, so this creates more difficulies as one may not tie it into the vaccine program at all which is pretty convienant for the goverment and health officals . It is your right to be a truth seeker .

Marjorie L.
Marjorie L6 years ago


Penny C.
penny C6 years ago

Very trgic all round.

Karen B.
Karen Bump6 years ago

True that, Jeanne B. Eating healthy is beyond the pocket books of most people in the worldl And the exercise, healthy lifestyle, while does help us feel better, is the last thing on our minds when all we are trying to do is survive and get through another day. I can't abide the judgemental types, though I do appreciate health information when it offers info that is not stress related. Brings to mind, KISS, keep it simple stupid. Very rare to find such healers. Seems to me to begin with "love yourself." Be well.