Law and Order
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Law and Order

Karen Campbell is a wealthy woman who abused and later murdered her adoptive daughter Alexis.

Background[]

Karen was married to a man named Pete, with whom she had a daughter named Katie, along with twin children. In addition, she and Pete adopted a girl named Alexis from Romania in 2002. However, the stress of caring for so many children overwhelmed Karen, and she began blaming Alexis for all of the stress she felt. As a result, she began emotionally neglecting and distancing herself from Alexis while continuing to dote on and care for her biological children. Eventually, after a failed attempt to return Alexis to the adoption agency, Karen's neglect escalated into physical abuse.

Poison[]

One day, after Alexis drew on the wall with crayon, Karen got a sponge and pail of soapy, detergent-filled water and forced Alexis to clean the wall with it. When Alexis began crying, Karen became frustrated and shoved the sponge into Alexis's mouth, shoving it back in whenever she spit it out, causing Alexis to ingest the detergent in the process. Alexis became sick and started to vomit, but Karen forced her to stand in the corner and only called for help when Alexis collapsed after Pete returned home from work. She was arrested after Katie and her sister-in-law Wendy both revealed to the Special Victims Unit detectives the abuse and neglect they had witnessed Karen inflict on Alexis.

Karen was acquitted in a bench trial by Judge Oliver Taft, who belonged to the same social class as her. Throughout the trial, Taft allowed his class bias to cloud his better judgement: he suppressed Katie from being a sworn witness after intimidating her, thus preventing her crucial testimony from being admitted as evidence, and had Detective Stabler held in contempt of court for challenging his decision while on the witness stand. Not long after, Pete had Alexis brought home against Karen's reservations and the doctor's medical recommendation. Overwhelmed by Alexis's cries of pain and the possibility of having to care for a now-constantly ill child, Karen murdered Alexis by smothering her to death when the two were alone in the house. Upon being arrested, she told the detectives that Taft had told her to do so during her original trial, saying that it would be better for everyone. Due to a lack of evidence corroborating this, Taft was never charged. Karen was ultimately convicted, this time in a jury trial, and imprisoned for Alexis' murder.

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