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updated: 11/12/2010 1:01 PM

Mom charged in daughter's death will get mental exam

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  • Marci Webber

    Marci Webber

 

Attorneys for a woman charged with slashing her 4-year-old daughter's throat in Bloomingdale accused prosecutors Friday of "trying to create evidence" against their client by videotaping her court-ordered mental exam.

Marci Webber, 43, is accused of brutally murdering her daughter, Maggie, in the belief the child would otherwise be sold as an Internet sex slave.

On Wednesday, DuPage County Judge George Bakalis ordered Webber to participate in a psychiatric exam sought by prosecutors in anticipation of a potential insanity defense. Although Webber's attorneys did not initially object to the evaluation, they took issue in court Friday with prosecutors' plans to videotape it.

"They're trying to create evidence against her," said Tony Coco, deputy chief of the DuPage County public defender's office. "It's putting her in a position to create evidence that can be used against her."

According to law, any defendant who raises an insanity defense must afford prosecutors the opportunity to conduct their own investigation into the defendant's mental health, in addition to exams though the defense.

In the Webber case, Assistant State's Attorney Alex McGimpsey said prosecutors want record of the exam in only its "purest form."

Video, he said, would not only capture the defendant's words, but also her demeanor and vocal inflection.

"It's not a state-oriented issue," McGimpsey said. "It helps either side."

Bakalis ultimately granted the videotaping request, but reminded Webber it's her choice to be evaluated by the prosecution expert.

"If she doesn't, she can't raise insanity," he said.

Webber appeared in court Friday with a bandage covering what authorities described as a self-inflicted wound on her left wrist and wearing a yellow jumpsuit indicating she is on suicide watch at the DuPage County jail. She did not speak up in court, but at several points whispered to one of her attorneys.

Prosecutors say Webber gave her daughter sleeping pills and Benadryl before slashing her throat so deeply it nearly severed her head. She later told investigators, who found the words "divine mercy" scrawled on the wall in blood, that she killed her daughter to protect her from sexual predators and the Internet sex trade, authorities said.

Maggie Webber's body was found Nov. 3 at her grandmother's home on the 200 block of Amherst Court in Bloomingdale.

Officials at Salerno's Rosedale Chapel in Roselle said Friday the girl's funeral has been scheduled, but services are by invitation only.

Marci Webber returns to court Nov. 29.