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Mother gets life term in 2006 beating death of son


Mother gets life term in 2006 beating death of son

Oct. 6, 2007

Eugene Scott and Senta Scarborough

The Arizona Republic

Vicki Lynn Hulsey was sentenced Friday morning to life in prison for the April 2006 beating death of her 10-year-old adopted son.

"Some of my best memories carry me through this pain," said Hulsey, who told a story of watching her son, Jerry, ride a horse. "I feel empty inside without him."

Hulsey, 46, wore black-and-white prison stripes and addressed Maricopa County Superior Court in a near-whisper for five minutes. advertisement 

"I have never been in jail or prison, and I didn't think I'd ever go," she said. "I'm very ashamed and embarrassed. All of my crying is serious."

Hulsey beat Jerry to death after a night of interrogation at their Mesa home.

"Thank God it wasn't ongoing abuse," she said. "It was just a terrible, terrible night."

Hulsey escaped a death sentence as part of a plea deal that gives her no chance of parole.

Hulsey, who had been abused as a child, had a nightmarish history that included a slow slide into paranoia after she stopped taking medication.

"No child should suffer the way you suffered as a child," Judge Paul McMurdie said.

Hulsey, who suffers from bipolar disorder, said she began having difficulty with her mental illness in 2001.

"It seems nothing has been the same since," she said. "Coming to Arizona was not a good move for me."

She had been reported to Child Protective Services in 2005 and had held her son in suspicion since, believing he had betrayed her. She often questioned him and was delusional, thinking that her home was bugged by police and that they were hovering over her home in helicopters.

"I certainly wished I had listened to my mom and got back on my medication," Hulsey said Friday.

About six family members were present, some of them crying, but none spoke in court or to the media.

Hulsey mouthed words and waved to them before being led away by deputies.

Hulsey met Jerry's mother at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in California. He had been abused and forsaken by his godparents. Hulsey, who adopted Jerry in the late 1990s, had doubts whether she, as a mentally ill single mother, could handle the responsibility, according to Kathleen Rozman, a longtime friend, in a letter to the court in August.

"We had a blessed life. He was a great kid with a lot of talents," Hulsey said. "I am fortunate to have been his mom. I miss him."

2007 Oct 6