‘I can’t bear to watch my son live this life,’ wrote mom accused of killing boy, 8, in NYC

By Jennifer Peltz, AP
Friday, March 12, 2010

Letter bares mindset of mom charged in son’s death

NEW YORK — A mother accused of killing her autistic son in a botched murder-suicide attempt claimed in a newly released letter she wanted to spare the boy from predatory adults she believed had abused him.

Gigi Jordan painted a picture of persecution in a rambling letter authorities discovered on her computer after she was found semiconscious and 8-year-old Jude Michael Mirra was found dead Feb. 5 in a Manhattan luxury hotel room strewn with prescription pills.

“I can’t bear to watch my son live this life and worry that I will be taken from him or he will be taken from me” and abused, Jordan wrote in the letter, which her lawyer made public Friday.

“Taking our lives goes against my religious beliefs, but what is God’s will? I pray He forgives me and at least Jude is in a better place than this one.”

Jordan, 49, has pleaded not guilty to murder. She is being held without bail in a jail hospital.

Her lawyer, Gerald Shargel, has suggested she shouldn’t be held criminally responsible for her son’s death because of her mental state. Prosecutors have called Jude’s death a premeditated killing, pointing to Jordan’s lengthy written explanation.

Jordan made a fortune as a pharmaceutical company executive before quitting her work to dedicate herself to her severely autistic son. She traveled around the country consulting experts and seeking treatment for a boy who repeatedly banged his head on the floor, was unable to speak and writhed in pain.

But in her letter, she appears to reject the diagnosis. Jude couldn’t speak because of “trauma and abuse,” she said, pointing to theories “that what appears as autism can sometimes in fact be catatonia or psychotic depression.”

The letter lashes out at various people she claims sexually abused the boy, tortured him to keep him from speaking out, bugged her hotel rooms and plotted to kill him or her.

“It’s impossible to live knowing you can’t protect your only child from unbearable torment,” she wrote. “People just tell you to move on. To where?

“I hear about parents with children like mine … who jump off bridges with their adult children rather than face the prospect of leaving them alone in the world.”

Jordan had made claims about Jude being violently abused to a Wyoming sex-crimes investigator she sought out two years ago. Authorities placed her in emergency detention there for a psychiatric evaluation; she was released a few days later.

The twice-divorced mother and her son lived at her homes around the country, including an apartment at Trump International Hotel & Towers in Manhattan. But on Feb. 3, she paid cash for two nights in a $2,300-a-night suite at the Peninsula Hotel on Fifth Avenue and barred the door.

Then she fed her son a fatal overdose of various prescription drugs and apparently took pills herself, authorities have said. Police arrived two days later, alerted by a concerned relative of Jordan’s.

But prosecutors are unsure “whether she actually took anything at all,” Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Kerry O’Connell said during a court appearance for Jordan on Friday. Jordan was alert enough to ask for a lawyer shortly after she was found, O’Connell noted.

Shargel, however, said Jordan had been “overwrought and seriously affected by forces totally beyond her control,” which he declined to detail.

He urged a judge Friday to release her on $5 million bond to a private mental hospital. He said she remained a suicide risk and needed more intense care than he believed she could get in a jail psychiatric ward.

O’Connell said the jail hospital was adequate, and she feared Jordan might leave the private facility and tap her tens of millions of dollars in assets to flee.

State Supreme Court Justice Charles Solomon hasn’t decided on Friday’s bail bid. He rejected a similar request from Jordan last month.

Jordan cried at points during her court session and said little, only helping her attorneys answer questions about her finances and other details.

Associated Press writer Verena Dobnik contributed to this report.

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