|Carol Scott Carr|
Carol Scott Carr (born 1939) is an American woman from the state of Georgia who became the center of a widely publicized debate over euthanasia when she killed her adult sons because they were suffering from Huntington's disease.
Killing and trial
Huntington's disease first appeared in the mother of Carr's husband. A daughter died from it, and a son who committed suicide when he learned that he had it. Eventually the disease left Carr's husband, Hoyt Scott, a factory worker, unable to move, swallow, talk or think. He died in 1995. By then Carol's oldest sons, Randy and Andy, both had the disease. On June 8, 2002, Carr killed both men in the room they shared at a Georgia nursing home.
James Scott of Hampton, Georgia, Carr's only remaining son, who also suffers from Huntington's, said his mother acted out of love, and not out of malice. Watching the boys suffer in agony for 20 years really took its toll on both him and his mother. "I sat there and watched them with bed sores," he said. "It's just a miserable way to live. They couldn't talk. They couldn't communicate with each other. They would mumble." Both men died of a single gunshot wound to the head. After the shootings, Carol Carr, who was then 63, calmly walked to the lobby and waited for police. When questioned by police on the night of the shooting Carol Carr told them that she didn't want them to suffer anymore. Despite what she did at SunBridge Nursing Home in Griffin, James Scott still stands behind her. The lead detective on the case told Lee Williams, the Griffin Daily News crime reporter who broke the story, that he classified the murders as a "mercy killing." James Scott agreed. "She gave it her all taking care of them even while they were in a nursing home," Scott said. "She would go there as much as she could. She would change their bed linen and give them drinks."
Carr pleaded guilty to assisted suicide and was sentenced to 5 years in prison. After serving 21 months, she was released on parole in 2004. The parole board mandated that if Carr's surviving son, James, should become ill with Huntington's disease, she will be prohibited from serving as his primary caregiver. They also stipulated that Carr must receive mental-health counseling during her period of supervision. Unfortunately, Carol's youngest son, James Scott, was diagnosed with Huntington's in 2005. Carr was not allowed to be his caregiver.
Opinion and reaction
Many in Carr's hometown came to her defense. Brown University Professor Jacob Appel was among those most publicly and vocally to be critical of the case against Carr. He described Spalding County District Attorney Bill McBroom's decision to prosecute as a decision that "raises both ignorance and cruelty to new heights."
- Rimer, Sarah. A Deadly Disease Destroys Patients and Families, June 24, 2002
- "Life, be not too proud ; A caregiver's final act of motherly love," Chicago Tribune, July 5, 2002.
- Gettelman, Jeffrey. 'Motherly Love' Cited in Sons' Deaths, Los Angeles Times Page A12
- Williams, Lee. "Son says mom was pushed to breaking point" Griffin Daily News Page 1A, 2A.
- "Mother convicted in mercy killings is granted parole" Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 4, 2004
- Robertson, Tatsha. "A Mother's Deadly Choice: Killing of Ailing Sons Tests a Georgia Town." Boston Globe, August 3, 2002.
- Appel, Jacob. "The Case of a Lifetime" Providence Journal, February 9, 2003.
- Appel, Jacob. "How freeing Carol Carr will save your death," Brown Daily Herald, February 7, 2003