Reporter: Maggie Vespa
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The mother accused of trying to strangle her 10-year-old son was charged with first degree murder Thursday after the boy was taken off life support.
Sgt. Chris Widmer tells KGUN9 that Jean Cataline will now face first degree murder charges.
Police say Cataline called 9-1-1, saying she tried to strangle her 10 year-old son with a cord on January 30.
She was arrested for child abuse and attempted first degree murder before her son died.
In video court on the day of her initial arrest, she didn't speak a word, but the look on her face and her demeanor spoke volumes.
Friends of Jean Cataline tell 9OYS her troubles started when her husband passed away suddenly a few months ago.
Even in court, sitting face to face with the consequences of her alleged crime, the gravity of what happened seemed to allude her, until she heard about her son.
The night of January 30 in Pima County video court, 49 year-old Cataline sits down with her public defender, as a judge reads through the charges against her.
"Ms. Cataline you are charged this evening with attempted murder and abuse of an elderly adult or child," said the judge.
Through the process, she seems disconnected, confused.
Her gaze is hazy, that is, until her attorney repeats one final instruction: She is not to see or contact the victim, her 10 year-old son, who, he reminds her, remains hospitalized.
Cataline breaks down.
It's the reaction of a woman who, friends say, must have snapped.
"There's got to be another side to this. Not just what everybody's seeing right now."
"She didn't intentionally hurt him," said friend Sarah Robinson. "(Not the woman you know?) No."
"There's got to be another side to this, not just what everybody is seeing right now," added neighbor Tina Lupica.
Friends say Cataline, a native of the Philippines, was overwhelmed following her husbands death.
"This family loved each other," said Robinson. "You know, they would joke with each other. They spent time together."
A grieving widow raising two boys, financial troubles plagued her.
Friends say they urged her to seek counseling.
When they heard she had been arrested for strangling her younger son, and had called 9-1-1 on her self, they knew they had waited too long.
"You have to make sure people are getting the counseling that they needed, because the fact that she went to this length... Like this is not real to me," said Robinson.
Cataline's bond was set at $100,000. She was scheduled for court on February 11th at 1:30 p.m.
The judge ordered she undergo a psychological evaluation before that time.
Her 17 year-old son is in the custody of the state.