Christie Michelle Scott Sentenced to Death in 2008 AL Murder of Son

Started by Michael, June 09, 2009, 06:42:35 PM

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June 09, 2009, 06:42:35 PM Last Edit: August 05, 2009, 05:45:22 PM by Jeff1857
RUSSELLVILLE - Potential jurors in the capital murder trial of Christie Michelle Scott have the day off today as attorneys analyze responses to a list of questions jurors answered Monday.
Jury selection resumes Wednesday.

Scott, 30, 180 Singore Drive, Russellville, is accused of starting a fire at her home Aug. 16 that killed her 6-year-old son, Mason Scott.

The jury selection process got under way Monday morning with 150 potential jurors. By the time the 12-page questionnaires were handed out, 83 potential jurors remained. Court officials had summoned 500 potential jurors for the trial that is expected to last at least two weeks.

During questioning Monday, Franklin County Circuit Court Judge Terry Dempsey asked potential jurors if they had biases that would prevent them from rendering an impartial verdict, such as forming an opinion about Scott's guilt or innocence based on media reports. Dempsey said they must base their verdict solely on the testimony they would hear as a juror. "You need to search your heart and soul and tell me if you are unable to do that."

After meeting with Dempsey and attorneys, those who said they would be unable to render a verdict based only on the testimony were dismissed. Those who said they have medical conditions that would make it difficult for them to listen to the testimony were also dismissed.

Dempsey is hopeful the questionnaires will help speed the jury selection process by eliminating the need for attorneys to question every potential juror individually.

Among the questions are several related to the potential jurors' beliefs about the death penalty. If convicted of capital murder, Scott could receive the death penalty.

"The questions are not meant to pry into your personal life," Dempsey said. "We do ask for an honest response from you to the questions."

Prosecutors remain confident an impartial jury can be assembled.

Defense attorney Robert Tuten, of Huntsville, has expressed concern about selecting a jury in Franklin because of pre-trial publicity about the fire and Scott's arrest.

In May, Tuten asked Dempsey to move the trial to another county. Dempsey denied the request, but said he would move the trial if it proves impossible to convene an impartial jury in Franklin.

Before dismissing the remaining potential jurors Monday until Wednesday morning, Dempsey warned them to not read, watch or listen to any news reports about the trial.

During Dempsey's questioning of potential jurors Monday, Scott's husband, Jeremy, sat beside her at the defense table. During breaks in the questioning, Scott's family members would gather at the front of the courtroom to talk to her.

Waiting for the jury to be chosen in her capital murder trial Monday, Christie Scott looks at photographs with her husband, Jeremy Scott. Scott's attorney, Nick Heatherly, sits at left.
I´m not sure if there´s a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.


Boy was alive when burned

A state medical examiner testified Monday that 6-year-old Mason Scott was alive at least briefly as he was being burned in a fire that killed him and destroyed his bedroom Aug. 16.

His mother, Christie Michelle Scott, who is charged with capital murder, is accused of starting the fire.

Dr. Emily Ward, who performed the autopsy on Mason's body, testified he died of smoke inhalation and thermal burns.

During questioning by Assistant Franklin County District Attorney Doug Evans, Ward testified that soot found in the child's throat and lungs during the autopsy indicates he was alive as the fire began.

She could not say how long the child might have lived as his body was being burned.

She said much of the child's skin was charred during the fire.

"We don't think he was alive the whole time the burning was going on," Ward said "But we don't know at what point the death occurred."
Christie Scott wept when Ward testified the youth could have been alive as he was being burned.

Evans displayed three photographs for jurors that Ward made of the child's badly burned body before the autopsy.

Scott buried her face in her hands and looked away from the monitor screen as the photographs were displayed.

Jurors showed no visible emotion as they viewed the photographs. Some appeared to be taking notes during Ward's testimony.

Ward testified the autopsy revealed Mason Scott had high levels of carbon monoxide in his blood.

In his opening statement June 11, defense attorney Robert Tuten told jurors he expects the evidence will show the high levels of carbon monoxide are a result of fire smoldering for an extended period before being discovered. He told jurors evidence will show the youth breathed smoke from the fire for a prolonged period.

Scott told investigators when she awoke to discover the pre-dawn fire, she attempted to rescue her son, but was turned back by intense smoke and heat. Scott told investigators she and her then-4-year-old son, Noah, escaped through a window.

Tuten contends the fire was accidental. Prosecutors say the fire began when Scott ignited a bed belonging to her younger son, who shared a bedroom with Mason. Scott told investigators that Noah slept in her room the night of the fire.

Mason Scott's body was found on the floor of his bedroom.

During Monday's questioning by Evans, Ward said high carbon monoxide levels are not unusual in children who die in a fire. She said children have smaller lungs and more rapid heartbeats than adults, which can elevate carbon monoxide levels when they die in a fire.

Tuten asked Ward two questions during his cross examination: If someone with a carboxyhemoglobin level (the combination of carbon monoxide and hemoglobin blood) of 40 percent in their blood could survive with medical attention; and if someone with a carbon monoxide level of 90 percent would likely die. She answered yes to both questions.

Ward had testified earlier that Mason Scott's carboxyhemoglobin level was more than 90 percent.

Scott is being held in the Franklin Jail without bond. If convicted of capital murder, she could be sentenced to death.
I´m not sure if there´s a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.


A jury has convicted a north Alabama woman of capital murder in the death of her 6-year-old son, who died in a house fire last year.  Jurors returned the verdict against 30-year-old Christie Michelle Scott on Wednesday during their third day of deliberations. She could receive life imprisonment or the death
penalty at a sentencing hearing set for Thursday.
Prosecutors argued that Scott started the fire that killed her son, Mason Scott, so she could collect life insurance from the boy's death. Evidence showed the woman purchased a $100,000 policy the afternoon before the fire.
Scott testified that she is innocent and had no idea how the fire began.


RUSSELLVILLE, AL (WAFF) - A jury that convicted a Russellville mother in the death of her son Wednesday recommended Friday that she be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

The jury started deliberating on the fate of Christie Scott Friday morning at the Franklin County Courthouse starting at 8:30 a.m. They made their decision around 10 a.m.

"The State of Alabama versus Christie Michelle Scott, we the jury recommend the defendant Christie Michelle Scott to punishment by life in prison without parole," read the recommendation made by the jury.

Scott looked directly at her family as the recommendation was made, then meet briefly with her lawyers before being taken away.

After the recommendation was made, Scott's family gathered in the courtroom and prayed. They all left the courthouse without commenting.

"We have to be very careful what we say at this point," said defense attorney Robert Tuten.

Tuten said the case isn't over. An appeal is already in the works and will be processed after the judge sentences Scott on August 5.

"We are pleased that a majority of the jury saw fit to save her life," Tuten said.

Five jurors voted for the death penalty and the remaining seven voted for life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"That puts a burden on the judge when there is just such a split," said Franklin County Defense Attorney Joe Rushing.

Rushing said they are pleased with the jury's recommendation, but will again ask the judge to consider death as an option. This recommendation will be considered by Circuit Court Judge Terry Dempsey, who will make the final decision in August.

After Dempsey makes his final decision, there will be an automatic appeal.

The two most recent capital murder trials in franklin county have involved the murders of children.

In October of 2007, Jodey Waldrop was sentenced to death for the slaying of his 3-week-old son. The child was killed at the family's Red Bay home in September of 2005. Waldrop claimed his son died accidentally.

The most recent case is still unresolved in the minds of many. Sixteen years ago, Andrea Gonzales, 5, was reported missing. Investigators searched all over the county, but never found the child's body.

Eventually, her father Paul Gonzales reached an agreement with prosecutors. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter in her death. Andrea's stepmother Kim was convicted of child abuse charges and she served four years in prison. Andrea's body has never been found.


Franklin County Circuit Judge Terry Dempsey told Christie Scott Wednesday morning that justice would not be served unless he sentenced her to death.

Scott was convicted last month of killing her six year-old son, Mason Scott, last August. Prosecutors contend that she set fire to her family's Signore Drive home in Russellville and allowed Mason to die in the fire so she could collect $175,000 in life insurance policies.

A jury voted 7-5 to recommend Scott, 31, be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"Justice must be served and the only way justice can be served in this case is by death," Dempsey said.

Scott becomes the first female and only the second person in Franklin County history to be sentenced to death. Dempsey sentenced a Red Bay man to death in 2007 after he was also convicted of murdering his child.

Defense attorney Robert Tuten said he believes the conviction and sentence will be overturned during the appeals process.

He immediately began filing paperwork for a new trial.

District Attorney Joey Rushing, who asked Dempsey to impose the death penalty, said he is confident the verdict and sentence will be upheld.

Appeals are automatic in capital murder convictions.
Interesting the judge went against the Jury recommendation and a woman being sentenced as well.

Granny B

"Interesting the judge went against the Jury recommendation and a woman being sentenced as well. "

You are so right Jeff.  That surprised me as well.  But I am afraid that the defense is right and it will be overturned for that reason.  However, to cruelly burn her child to death makes her eminently deserving of the death penalty.  How that child must have suffered as he died!   >:(
" Closure? Closure is a misused word in the English language.  There is no such thing as closure for the family of a murder victim.  There will never be any closure for the death of our loved ones until we are dead ourselves.  The families have a lifetime sentence of anguish and sadness." 
Susan Levy


After posting this the first time, I never expected that she gets the DP. I think now she won´t smile like on the first picture in this topic.

I´m not sure if there´s a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.


But I am afraid that the defense is right and it will be overturned for that reason.

Respectfully, I hope you're wrong Gma...  I personally don't see what difference the gender makes.  To burn your own child alive for money is an act that warrants the death penalty and I congradulate the judge who's decision to override the jury's recommendation was spot on...  Yes, the physical evidence does indeed strongly suggest that the child was alive during the fire.  In most cases, the individual will already be deceased by the time the flames actually start to burn them.  But to have soot deep into the respiratory system and burns to the trachea and lung bifurcation indicate consciousness... 

I think now she won´t smile like on the first picture in this topic.

Probably not..   ;)



Plus, another woman from Alabama (Louise Harris) had the same situation unfold:  The jury recommended life and the judge sentenced her to death.  This issue was brought up to the Fed. court of appeals, and they said that such a sentence is valid, as that is what the law in Alabama allows. 

This gives me hope that Christie Scott will ultimately be executed. 


Plus, another woman from Alabama (Louise Harris) had the same situation unfold:  The jury recommended life and the judge sentenced her to death.  This issue was brought up to the Fed. court of appeals, and they said that such a sentence is valid, as that is what the law in Alabama allows. 

This gives me hope that Christie Scott will ultimately be executed.

Seems valid because when I looked on a site that tells how sentences in each statement is determined I read this when it comes to Alabama.

Judge can override the jurys recommendation

So I'm assuming this isn't limited to the judge overruling the jury's decision on death so he could say death even when the jury says life.
My reason for supporting the death penalty? A murderer has less of a right to live than his victim and already presents a danger while incarcerated for life. They have nothing to lose when the most they can get is Life in prison without parole.


Appeals court upholds Ala. woman's death sentence

Posted: Oct 05, 2012 11:22 PM Updated: Oct 06, 2012 12:58 AM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A state appeals court has upheld the death sentence given to a Franklin County woman charged with setting the Aug. 16, 2008 house fire that killed her 6-year-old autistic son.

The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the sentence given to 34-year-old Christie Michelle Scott. The unanimous opinion said the appeals court found death was the appropriate sentence for "the horrific murder."

Court testimony said the fire appeared to have been set in the bedroom Mason shared with another child. Prosecutors accused Scott of setting the fire to collect on insurance policies. The court rejected Scott's arguments for overturning her conviction, including that her trial should have been moved out of Franklin County because of publicity the case received.

Scott is 1 of 4 women on Alabama's death row.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.


Picture of Christie and one of little Mason.
Genesis 9:6
"Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man. "


Court upholds Scott conviction
September 30, 2014

This week the Alabama Supreme Court upheld the conviction in one of the biggest cases in the county's history.

On Friday, Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing received word that the guilty verdict and death sentence handed down to Christie Michelle Scott, 36, found guilty of the capital murder of her 6-year-old son, Mason, in 2008, was officially upheld by the Alabama Supreme Court in a 5-1 decision.

The decision comes almost two years after the Alabama Criminal Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction and death sentence in a unanimous decision.

"The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed the decision without an opinion, which just shows they were confident in the decision made by the Court of Criminal Appeals," Rushing said.

"If there was any plain error made during the trial that could cause the case to be retried or the verdict to be overturned, the Court of Criminal Appeals would be the ones to find the error. Since they didn't point out anything in the entire 172-page opinion they issued, that shows pretty strongly that they were confident in the verdict and sentence."

In fact, Rushing said the end of the report issued by the Criminal Court of Appeals stated, "this court independently weighed the aggravating circumstances and mitigating circumstances as required by the Alabama Code of 1975 and is convinced, as was the circuit court, that death was the appropriate sentence for the horrific murder of six-year-old Mason."

Rushing said he was glad to have both of these courts affirm this case.

"It was a huge relief to receive the initial affirmation from the Court of Criminal Appeals and it's a great relief to have the Alabama Supreme Court even further affirm this case.

"When you have a four-week trial with all the testimony and witnesses that we had in this case, there are so many issues that can come up that might present a problem in the appeals process, so this is a testament to the great job our circuit court did and all the others who played a role in this case."

This second affirmation comes more than five years after Scott was sentenced in August of 2009 for killing her son.

Mason Scott died in a house fire that started in his bedroom at the Scotts' home at 180 Signore Dr. in Russellville on Aug. 16, 2008, at 2:30 a.m.

At the time of Mason Scott's death, fire officials were unaware of how the fire started, even though they had determined it had started in or near Mason Scott's bedroom where the child was found after the flames were extinguished.

Christie Scott had managed to escape from the house with her youngest son, who was four years old at the time.

Scott's husband was out of town in Atlanta on business when the fire occurred.

Fire investigations are standard in cases that result in fatalities, and once the investigation commenced, officials said investigators began noticing things that just didn't seem to match up.

"The first red flag of the investigation was the smoke detector, which seemed to have been ripped from the wall and didn't match the way a normal smoke detector would have looked if it had still been attached to the wall and fully functional at the time of the fire," Rushing said.

"That was the first of many oddities and details that pointed to Christie Scott's involvement in the fire."

Scott was accused of intentionally setting the fire that led to Mason's death and was originally charged with Mason's murder in September 2008 when a grand jury found enough information to charge her with three alternative counts of capital murder - one which accused Scott of intentionally killing her son by starting a fire for the purpose of monetary gain, one which accused Scott of intentionally killing her son as a result of committing first-degree arson, and one which accused Scott of intentionally killing someone who is less than 14 years old.

Records indicate that during Scott's initial bond hearing, testimony revealed that Scott took out an additional life insurance policy on her son the day before the fire.

Under cross-examination from Rushing, Scott's father, Donald Bray, gave testimony that affirmed his daughter had also been connected to at least three previous fires.

The original trial began in June of 2009 and testimony lasted for approximately four weeks - the longest trial in Franklin County's history.

During the trial, the prosecution brought up point after point that they believed proved Scott's guilt and calculated plan to set fire to the house and kill Mason while defense attorney Robert Tuten continually maintained Scott's innocence and that the fire was electrical in nature and no fault of Scott's.

After four weeks of testimony and a little more than two days of deliberating, the jury returned guilty verdicts for all three alternative counts of capital murder.

The jury recommended a sentence of life without parole, but in a sentence hearing on Aug. 5, 2009, Circuit Judge Terry Dempsey overruled the jury's decision and gave Scott the death sentence stating, "Justice must be served and the only way justice can be served in this case is by death."

Scott has been housed at Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka on death row awaiting her case to go through the appeals process.

Rushing said the decisions from the Court of Criminal Appeals and the Alabama Supreme Court were the two biggest hurdles to overcome, but the appeals process will still continue.

He said the case will move forward now to the federal appeals process.
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.

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