View Full Version : CONVICTION OVERTURNED CT - Mom charged in suicide of Daniel Scruggs, 12, Meriden, 2 Jan 2002

01-17-2004, 04:15 PM
Many knew Daniel was a troubled boy, but no one stepped in to help. Now it's too late.


EDITOR'S NOTE -- There were national headlines last fall when a Connecticut jury blamed Judy Scruggs for her son's suicide following testimony that she kept a horribly messy house. But a close examination of the case by The Associated Press found that others involved in the boy's life failed him, and that there is much blame to go around.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/connecticut/articles/2004/01/17/many_knew_daniel_was_a_troubled_boy_but_no_one_ste pped_in_to_help_now_its_too_late/

Excerpts from the official investigation into the suicide of Daniel Scruggs

http://www.boston.com/news/local/connecticut/articles/2004/01/17/excerpts_from_the_official_investigation_into_the_ suicide_of_daniel_scruggs/

01-22-2004, 04:43 PM
i become completely and utterly unable to continue my thoughts every time i run across this case. i keep a picture of daniel scruggs in my pictures folder, and i have prayed for him several times. i tell him that i will be his friend.
(since no one else would) i hate this world. i absolutely hate it.there is no reason for this to have happened.

01-22-2004, 04:52 PM
This is such a sad story. If ONE person had really cared and took the time to try and reach this young man he might be alive today. I cry everytime I read about this.

01-22-2004, 09:07 PM
"But a close examination of the case by The Associated Press found that others involved in the boy's life failed him, and that there is much blame to go around."

Duh. That's all I can say. Reality check, anyone?

05-15-2004, 10:04 AM
MERIDEN, Conn. (AP) - A woman who was convicted of creating an environment that contributed to her 12-year-old son's suicide after constant bullying at school received a suspended sentence Friday.

Judith Scruggs showed no visible emotion as she was placed on probation for five years by Superior Court Judge Stephen Frazzini. She also must undergo counseling and perform 100 hours of community service.

J. Daniel Scruggs hanged himself in his bedroom closet with a necktie on Jan. 2, 2002.

``I'll miss him dearly every day of my life,'' Judith Scruggs told reporters outside the courthouse.

Scruggs, 52, told police Daniel was afraid of bullies who had kicked and punched him, and he slept in his closet with knives out of fear. A filthy home contributed to his body odor, which apparently contributed to the bad situation at school, and authorities said his mother should have done more to improve the situation.

Legal experts said they believe the conviction, on a risk of injury charge, may have been the first time a parent was found guilty of contributing to her child's suicide.

``The law requires parents and care givers to protect their children, to keep them safe, to make sure they are not subjected to risks to their health,'' Frazzini said.

Witnesses described a home where there was barely room to move because of clothes, boxes, papers and debris covering the floor. The air was foul. The bathroom floor and tub were covered with clothes, the fixtures soiled.


05-20-2004, 01:59 AM
I am not so sure I agree with this verdict, sounds like the mother had some emotional/psychiatric problems of her own.
I do agree that parents are responsible for their child's well-being, emotionally and physically, but I think someone had to know what was going on in the home. Where was the father in this boy's life?

LP Moderator
05-25-2004, 01:35 PM
Good question, but I'm not sure where the father was. I remember this case and I remember seeing the video taken inside that home. There is/was absolutely NO reason whatsoever to live in filth such as it was. I certainly think that there's plenty of blame to go around vis-a-vie the mother, the school, the bullies, but the buck stops with the parent, in my opinion. While I don't think that actual jail time should have been given, neither do I think that her profiting off of her son's suicide by suing the school is the right thing either. If she does win some sort of settlement, I'd like to see the entire amount given to programs that deal with school bullying, afterschool programs or something of the like so that we don't hear of this happening to another child.

Jeana (DP)
08-29-2006, 04:34 PM
Rulilng overturned:

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) The Connecticut Supreme Court on Monday overturned a mother's conviction on charges that she contributed to her 12-year-old son's suicide by creating an unsafe and unhealthy home.

Judith Scruggs of Meriden was convicted of risk of injury to a minor in 2003, a year and a half after her son, J. Daniel, hanged himself with a necktie in his closet.

Legal experts said it was thought to be the first time a parent had been convicted over a child's suicide.

Scruggs said her son killed himself because he was bullied at school, and she filed a federal lawsuit against Meriden school officials contending they should have stopped it. The case inspired a new state law requiring schools to report bullies to authorities, and many school districts revamped bullying policies.

In court three years ago, authorities testified that the Scruggs home was so dirty that the medical examiner had to climb over heaps of debris to get to the boy's body.