Prosecute Murder of Autistic Teenager As Hate Crime


Target: Will Weatherford, Speaker of Florida House

Goal: Urge the Court to prosecute the murder of autistic teen as a hate crime

Fourteen-year-old Alex Spourdalakis was murdered by his mother and caretaker because they no longer wished to care for the severely autistic child. He was killed after his mother petitioned to have him removed from the hospital, claiming he would receive better care at home.  Please sign this petition in order to insist crimes that crimes committed against the disabled due their disabilities be treated as a hate crime.

At Loyola University Medical Center, Alex was restrained to his bed due to a tendency to remain violent. “He’s big, he’s strong and he needs someone who can cope with that.” Those words were spoken by British surgeon Andrew Wakefield, in his video protesting Alex’s impending move into psychiatric care. Alex’s mother had this to say, “We know no one will help us unless we help ourselves”.

As it happened, taking care of a 200-pound, 14-year-old autistic teenager around the clock proved to be too much for his mother, Dorothy Spourdalakis, and his caretaker, Jolanta Skrodzka. They tried to kill him by overdosing him on sleeping pills. When that didn’t work, his mother stabbed him repeatedly, almost severing his hand at the wrist. Then she handed the knife to Skrodzka, who proceeded to kill the family cat. They wrote in their suicide note that they killed the cat so it wouldn’t be sent to an animal shelter. Finally, they tried to kill themselves by taking the sleeping pills. Currently, they are being charged for first-degree murder.

Everyday, stories like these plague our nation. Mentally disabled children are beaten at schools, physically disabled babies are smothered in their beds, these crimes are hate crimes and should be treated as such. In Sparta, the disabled or handicapped were often taken from their parents and murdered. It was believed that weakness had no place in a strong society. Alex Spourdalakis did not ask to be born autistic. He was murdered in cold blood by his mother for reasons beyond his control. Please insist that this case be prosecuted as a hate crime.


Dear Speaker Weatherford,

One Google search can tell you that disabled children are often bullied at school, because they can’t fight back. If they can’t, then someone needs to fight for them. Someone needs to be their voice. Alex Spourdalakis was a child. Yes, he was autistic, and sometimes he was violent, but he never should have been murdered. Murdering him implies that he was viewed as something less than human, that his life was deemed less valuable due to his disability. Every life counts. Every life is valuable.

Taking advantage of the disabled is far too common in America, whether it be by their peers, their caretakers, their teachers, or their parents. Please suggest to Congress that crimes against the disabled due to their disabilities be treated as a hate crime, starting with the prosecution of Alex Spourdalakis’ murders.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Psyon via Commons

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