Autistic people have long gotten the short end of the stick in our justice system. Police have used a person's autism to justify shooting at them. Being subject to questionable therapies with full consent of the legal system. Once more, a parent has gotten off with a short sentence for killing her autistic child.

Mother felt "overwhelmed" by her autistic son

Dorothy Spourdalakis pleaded guilty to stabbing her 14 year-old son Alex to death as part of a murder-suicide plot. She claimed that she was overwhelmed and unsure what to do about her son's increasingly erratic behavior.

According to the mother, the majority of psychiatric facilities wouldn't take him because of his behavior. His autism made it impossible for him to talk. This inability to get treatment for her son eventually led to her and his godmother, Agatha Skrodzka, brutally stabbing the teenager in his sleep and then attempting suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills.

However, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, a group made up of autistic Disability rights advocates, disputes this narrative.

"Prior to murdering him, Alex’s mother was offered and refused services from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services," ASAN said in a public statement about the murder.

The two survived the suicide attempt but Alex didn't survive the stab wounds. They were arrested and charged with first degree murder for killing the autistic teenager. However, in what has been a rather consistent pattern, the prosecutors let the duo off on an involuntary manslaughter charge with time served. Her defense attorney called this "compassionate". However, many disability rights groups are wondering where the compassion was for Alex.

Autism rights community outraged

According to disability rights groups, especially autism rights groups such as ASAN say that this is a constant pattern.

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A family member kills their disabled child, claims that they were "overwhelmed", gets turned into a media darling and after making a teary eyed plea to the court about how awful having a disabled child is, gets off with a light sentence.

Making matters particularly irritating is that Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who was stripped of his medical license after falsely claiming that vaccines caused autism, made Alex's murder the subject of an anti-vaccine documentary. This effectively made her a movie star.

In the last six years, over 180 disabled people have been killed in this fashion (as far as disability rights groups are aware of). There are no government agencies keeping track. Only a small handful of grassroots disability rights organizations. Not all of these deaths are autism related. Many victims have had things like cerebral palsy.

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