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George Hodgins from thAutcast

Image from thAutcast

George Hodgins was an autistic man. At age 22, he was murdered by his mother.

Murder

George was murdered on March 6th, 2012. His mother shot him and then killed herself.

Media

The media responded as usual, calling George "low functioning and high maintenance." The mother was likened to a prisoner.[1] They discussed how stressful it is for parents to see autistic children age out of the system, and that parents interviewed understood why she did it.[1][2]

"Every mother I know who has a child with special needs has a moment just like that," Joanna Jaeger explained in a Mercury News article.[1]

Autistic Responses

"In the wake of this tragedy, I read a lot of articles that asked the readers to imagine how George’s mother must have felt. But I didn’t see a single article that asked the reader to empathize for George, to imagine how it feels to see your mother point a gun at you. I’ve seen a lot of people talking about how hard it must be to live with an autistic relative, but I didn’t see anyone talking about how terrible it be to die knowing that your parent, who you love and depend on, has decided to hurt and kill you." — Zoe Gross
ASAN released a statement condemning the media coverage and held a vigil for George and other victims on March 16, 2012.[3][4]

Potential Connection to Corby Murder

ASAN noted that the media coverage of George's murder may have inspired Patricia Corby to drown her 4-year-old son Daniel. The media had been sympathetic to George's murderer, and Daniel's murder was 25 days later. ASAN urged the media to view these murders as copycat crimes.[5]

"if you said that no one should “judge” the murder as wrong, if you said that Elizabeth Hodgins was “driven to murder” by George’s autism or by “lack of services,” if you called the murder “understandable,” if you said “it wasn’t a murder, it was a mercy killing,” if you said “all parents of special-needs children have felt this way,” please take a minute to wonder if Patricia Corby heard you."

References

These sources come with a general trigger warning due to the horrific nature of the subject. Some articles portray views sympathetic with the murderer, and these are marked.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 San Jose Mercury News: Parents of autistic children speak out on Sunnyvale murder-suicide (trigger warning)
  2. San Francisco Gate: Sunnyvale mom kills autistic son, self, police say (trigger warning)
  3. ASAN: Remarks on the Murder of George Hodgins
  4. Paula Durbin Westby: Murder of George Hodgins, 22- Year Old Autistic Man
  5. ASAN Anti-Filicide Toolkit

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