Breaking News Bar
updated: 1/3/2011 5:38 PM

Judge orders mental exam in Bloomingdale murder of 4-year-old

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Marci Webber

    Marci Webber

 

DuPage County prosecutors will be allowed to have a mental health expert interview a woman charged in the November slashing death of her 4-year-old daughter, a judge ruled Monday over the defense's objection.

Attorneys for Marci Webber, 43, said the exam -- anticipated sometime in the next two weeks -- is premature because they haven't decided yet whether to raise an insanity defense. In an attempt to address that concern, Judge George Bakalis ruled the results would be admissible only if Webber claims mental incompetency.

Also Monday, Assistant Public Defender Tony Coco revealed in court that Webber's attorneys are looking into a potential defense other than insanity. He declined to elaborate but described the strategy as "ranking first" out of possible defense tactics at this point.

"I'm not saying we're never going to change our minds," he said. But, "Right now, it's wildly unreasonable to assume anything the defense is doing."

Webber, of East Nassau, N.Y., is accused of nearly beheading 4-year-old Magdalene "Maggie" Webber on Nov. 3. The two had been staying at the Bloomingdale townhouse of Webber's mother. Prosecutors have said Marci Webber later told police she slashed the girl's throat to protect her from the Internet sex trade.

Prosecutors say an expedient mental examination would provide a better picture of Webber's mental state at the time of the killing. Until Monday, Bakalis had agreed to delay the exam due to the defense's concerns.

If Webber refuses to cooperate in the interview, Coco said, she could be barred from using expert testimony regarding to her sanity.

Webber, who is charged with first-degree murder, remains in the county jail on $5 million bond. She returns to court Feb. 7.