Peoria, Arizona – Lynn Carlson was a thoughtful, generous woman who had the misfortune to suffer from multiple sclerosis. No matter, Her son, David Carlson, was married to a nursing assistant, a woman who was 10 years his senior, named Doris Ann Carlson. Doris assured Lynn she would be able to care for her. As of late, she and David were down on their luck and needed a place to live. Here was a fair exchange: Doris would care for Lynn as her personal nurse while David looked for a job. In this manner, Doris and David were able to convince Lynn to let them move in with her. However, once David and Doris moved into Lynn’s house Doris became a lady of leisure. No longer interested in working, or in nursing her mother-in-law, Doris soaked up Lynn’s money and sat around Lynn’s house with her feet up. Over the following four years, Doris and David mortgaged poor Lynn’s house to the hilt. The money was used to give Doris a care-free life so she wouldn`t have to get a job.
Doris and David even refused to care for poor Lynn as she got sicker. Sometimes during the night the poor woman would soil herself and even fall out of bed. Doris sneered at her, calling her mother-in-law `disgusting.“ David did nothing to help the mother who had loved and nurtured him since infancy. Finally, all of Lynn`s money was spent. To rectify the situation, Doris took in two lodgers, 20-year-old John McReaken and 17-year-old Scott Smith. The atmosphere in the house changed and not for the better. The comings and goings were noisy and chaotic, a dreadful change in circumstance for Lynn. That meant nothing to Doris.
Finally, Lynn had it. She moved out of her own home and into an assisted care-giving institution. The money stopped going into the house. Doris and David were forced to fend for themselves. For her part, Lynn settled into her new home very happily. She received quality care and grew to like the other residents. David and Doris on the other hand drowned in their own debt. Utilities were shut off and they were facing foreclosure.
They visited Lynn only out of financial desperation, and on one occasion, Doris got straight to the point. She had the nerve to demand six thousand dollars from her ailing mother-in-law. Finally, Lynn got some blocks. Lynn said she would `get back to them.` When Doris started to shout, a nurse entered the room and told Doris and David to leave. Furious, Doris stormed out. Get back to her? Not likely.
Doris knew that it could take years for her mother-in-law to die. It would take an eternity for David to claim his inheritance. She told David she would hire a `hit-man“ to kill his mother. David placidly agreed. Doris asked McReaken and Smith, if they would do the deed for $20,000.00. Where she thought she`d get the twenty grand, I don`t know. After she and David paid all of their debts with David`s supposed inheritance, there probably wouldn`t be enough left to pay for that hit. It would appear that Doris wasn`t just lazy and pathological, she was also bad at math. The boys weren`t aware of that of course and they eagerly took the deal.
October 26, 1996 – On the fateful night of Lynn’s murder, Doris provided the two young men with knives and gloves. This was going to be nasty. She drove them to Lynn`s residence and sent them inside. She instructed the young men to “make it look like a burglary.” At the last minute, McReaken begged off stating to Smith, who was working as the look-out, “I don’t think I can do this!” Smith insisted he follow through. McReaken seemed to recover his backbone: he stabbed poor 53-year-old Lynn in the chest 10 times, then fled. They forgot about the burglary caper. Miraculously, Lynn survived for several months. The following morning, one of the porters found Lynn.
Police investigated the crime when lo and behold, David showed up. David never visited his mother. This didn’t sit well with the staff. David asked repeatedly “can she talk?” He was completely unremorseful. As it was, Lynn was too ill to speak. Three days later, someone else talked instead. A friend visited McReaken and Smith and one of the boys admitted to the crime. The friend turned informant and police bugged his car. McReaken, never the sharpest pencil in the box, and the snitch sat in the car and the latter stated “it was great. We just went in and got out. We never got arrested.” Well, later that day he and the other three conspirators did.
Months later, Lynn died horribly of her painful wounds. John McReaken received life in prison for first degree murder. Scott Smith received 10 years for second degree murder. Had the two never met Doris Ann Carlson they might never have ventured into violent crime. David Carlson given a life sentence for conspiracy to commit murder. Doris Ann Carlson received a death sentence for conspiracy to commit first degree murder and first degree burglary. Later, her sentence was commuted to life. Doris slaughtered a wheelchair-bound woman who was financially supporting her for no reason other than financial gain. Money does that to some women, I guess.