August 16, 2008
Russellville, Alabama
Christine Scott kills her 6-year-old son Mason in a house fire

The fire started in the Scott house on or near the bed of Mason’s brother, Noah (4). Christine told investigators Noah had been sleeping in her room when the fire started. She also claimed an outlet in the boys’ room, between their beds, had “melted out” previously, implying it may have been the cause of the fire. After firefighters arrived on the scene, Christine waited approximately five minutes before telling them Mason was still in the building. His charred body was later recovered. An autopsy on Mason revealed high levels of carbon monoxide in his blood, though it could not be determined if the smoke, the fire, or a combination of both killed him.

During investigation, a police dog specializing in detecting accelerants used in arson found the fire had not happened accidentally. It was also found that this blaze was the family’s third house fire in three years. The first fire was on January 12, 2006 when a pizza box was left on a range burner. The damages were slight. The second, occurring just two days later, destroyed the home though none of the family members were injured. The second fire resulted in $185,000 in insurance claims and was blamed on a faulty plug-in air freshener.

Prosecutors speculated the Christine set the fire to collect on Mason’s life insurance claims. He was insured for $175,000, with a $100,000 policy taken out the day before his death. Witnesses came forward to reveal Christine’s streak of abuse towards Mason, including yanking his hair and shoving him. Another witness testified Christine had said, after the fire, that she couldn’t believe how unlucky she was with the string of house fires, and that it was God punishing her for not wanting to raise Mason, who had mild autism.

The jury found Christine guilty of murder and, although they recommended a life sentence, the judge presiding instead sentenced her to death. As of August 2018, she is one of five women on Alabama’s death row.

Christine and Mason Scott

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