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Mother tried to 'fix' her toddler, 3

Testified that she killed autistic girl

Karen McCarron's videotaped confession of killing her 3-year-old daughter was played in court Thursday. Karen McCarron's videotaped confession of killing her 3-year-old daughter was played in court Thursday.
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Associated Press / January 12, 2008

PEKIN, Ill. - A woman accused of killing her autistic daughter testified yesterday that she attempted to suffocate the 3-year-old with a pillow three days before she succeeded with a plastic garbage bag.

Karen McCarron said she couldn't go through with it using the pillow. When prosecutor Kevin Johnson asked her how long she held the bag over the toddler's head soon after, she replied about two minutes - until the child, Katie, stopped struggling.

In a videotaped confession played in court Thursday, McCarron said she began having thoughts of hurting her daughter a year before the May 2006 slaying but put them out of her mind. On the day of the killing, though, the thoughts were stronger than ever.

"They were so intense," McCarron said.

McCarron, 39, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to murder, obstructing justice, and concealment of a homicidal death. She was found mentally fit to stand trial, but a medical specialist hired by her attorneys has said she was insane at the time of the killing.

The trial resumes Monday.

McCarron, a former pathologist, testified that she felt responsible for Katie's autism because she allowed the child to get vaccinated.

It "brought me a great deal of guilt," she said.

McCarron told investigators in the confession taped two days after Katie was killed that she wrapped the white plastic bag around the child's head as Katie played with toys on the floor at the home of McCarron's mother in Peoria.

The child had scratch marks on her head and bite marks were found inside her mouth and on the bag as she apparently tried to free herself, according to other testimony.

The confession was taped while McCarron was hospitalized after attempting suicide, investigators said. Wearing a hospital gown, she appears sitting on a bed next to her husband, Paul McCarron.

Karen McCarron said she killed her child hoping to "fix her" and give her peace in heaven.

"Maybe I could fix her this way, and in heaven she would be complete," she said on the tape.

McCarron told police she felt like a failure because of the child's autism and was sad and hurt because the child couldn't interact with her very well.

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