Mother pleads guilty in children’s shootings — (Houston Chronicle)

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Houston Chronicle

July 27, 2000

Author: CARLOS BYARS; Staff

[]SSRI Stories has confirmed that Linda Carr was in withdrawal from Prozac at the time of the murder.  She had also started and discontinued Prozac 6 times over a period of five years.

A Tomball woman who fatally shot her daughter and wounded her son in what her attorney said was a state of depression pleaded guilty to murder and aggravated assault Wednesday.

As part of a plea bargain, Linda Carr, 41, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for killing her daughter Aubrey, 15, and 20 years for wounding her son Justin, then 13.  The sentences will run concurrently.

Carr, a single mother who earned $60 a day as a substitute teacher and also worked at a supermarket deli, told officers that the unbearable stress of her life reached a breaking point on Feb. 3 – the day she bought a 9 mm pistol at a northwest Harris County sporting goods store, intending to kill her children and then herself.  She shot her daughter twice and her son once in the abdomen at their home in the 15600 block of Oxenford, but did not shoot herself.

In state District Judge Jim Wallace’s court Wednesday, Carr, dressed in the jail-issued orange jumpsuit, sat quietly as she waited for her hearing to begin.  Her father, John McKinty, 68, stood beside her, his arm around her shoulders. Then they shared a last brief hug and she went before the judge.

A psychologist testified briefly, saying that Carr was not insane at the time of the shootings and was competent to stand trial, but the “public spectacle” of a trial would “be extremely detrimental” to her.

Carr’s father testified briefly, saying that his grandson “physically has recovered totally.”  McKinty lived with his daughter and two grandchildren in the Tomball home from November 1991 until he remarried in May 1999.   McKinty moved to a home in Houston and his grandson now lives with him.

McKinty said he agreed with the plea bargain.

After being sentenced, Carr walked with a bailiff through the courtroom door. She did not look back.

McKinty let out a soft sigh as his daughter disappeared.

Prosecutor Don Smyth said later that the plea bargain was in everyone’s best interest and that a trial would have torn the family and their friends apart.

“Thirty-five years is something the state of Texas thought was appropriate,” he said.

Mark Vinson, the chief prosecutor, said he was just glad the case did not go to trial.  With the aggravated assault charge as well, Carr will have to serve 17 1/2 years before being eligible for parole.

Defense attorney Jim Leitner described Carr as “a sad and pathetic person” who probably hopes that someday she will wake up and everything will be over.  “People have pressures,” Leitner said. “Once they get depressed, the pressure they could handle before becomes insurmountable.”