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May 6, 1994
Author: TREVOR JENSEN Staff Writer
Pauline Carew’s son Thomas remembered Mother’s Day early, enclosing a tiny blue ribbon with the letter he sent her this week.
“A blue ribbon for a blue-ribbon mom,” he wrote. Pauline Carew’s eyes brighten when she talks about it.
The letter was mailed from the Broward County Jail, where Thomas Carew has been since Jan. 7, 1993. That was when police found his mother’s bruised and bloodied body on the living room floor of her Oakland Park home.
The 77-year-old woman had been brutally beaten by her son, apparently because she refused to go out to pick up his prescription medication. He had lived with her on and off for a couple of years. Her injuries were so severe she required brain surgery, prosecutor Lee Jay Seidman said.
But a mother’s love runs deep. Pauline Carew refused to participate with prosecutors in the case against her son. She hired her own attorney and tried to get her son’s bond lowered so he could get out of jail. She risked criminal prosecution by hiding out during his trial, ignoring a subpoena.
Even without her testimony, a jury on April 5 convicted Thomas Carew, 45, of battery on a person over 65, a first-degree felony. On Thursday, over his mother’s protests, Carew was sentenced to the maximum of 51/2 years in prison by Broward County Judge Robert Diaz.
Pauline Carew, now 78 and living in Wilton Manors, refers to the beating as an “accident.” She said her son, a merchant marine veteran, former conch diver and world traveler, had slipped into depression because of physical problems that kept him from working. His mental problems caused him to act aberrantly.
“I never had that kind of treatment from my son before,” she said. “He never drank or used drugs, he never took money from me.
“For him to pay the price he’s currently paying, I felt I would come to his defense.”
Prosecutor Seidman, who heads the Elderly Abuse Unit of the Broward State Attorney’s Office, said reluctant witnesses are common in cases of violence between family members. But he has rarely dealt with someone as adamant as Pauline Carew.
“Sometimes as a prosecutor you have to help someone who will not help themselves,” Seidman said. “She’s a victim in every sense of the word, and she doesn’t even realize it.”
Pauline Carew was charged with contempt of court for not showing up at her son’s trial, but the charge was dismissed by Diaz on Thursday.
“You even risked being thrown in jail just so you could do what you thought would help your son,” Diaz told Carew, who looked tiny before the judge’s bench. “I admire you for loving your son so much.
“I’ve learned a lot in this trial. A mother’s love is something we should all cherish.”
Pauline Carew said she only wants to get her son help for his mental problems so that he can work again. She said she knows it would be best if they didn’t live together again, but that she would take him in if he had no other place to go.
“What else can you do unless you want to put them out on the street – and I’m not that type of mother. I do love my son.”
Record Number: 9405050680
Copyright 1994 News & Sun-Sentinel Company