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updated: 7/18/2011 2:49 PM

Evaluation ordered on Elmhurst mom accused of drugging son

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  • Cheryl Luchetta

      Cheryl Luchetta

 

A judge ordered a mental health evaluation Monday for an Elmhurst mother accused of trying to drug her 7-year-old son to death.

The evaluation for 41-year-old Cheryl Luchetta was ordered by DuPage County Judge Daniel Guerin over the objection of her attorney.

Luchetta is charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery. She's accused of giving her son a near-lethal dose of Valium and Tylenol PM the evening of June 8.

Luchetta spent several weeks in the psychiatric ward at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital following her arrest, authorities said.

Assistant State's Attorney Cathy DeLaMar had sought the mental evaluation for Luchetta "based on the nature and circumstances of the offense, and the defendant's medical history."

But Assistant Public Defender Kyle Rubeck argued the defense was not prepared to raise mental fitness issues, and that an evaluation would violate his client's right to effective legal counsel.

The judge's ruling means the evaluation can proceed, likely in the next four to six weeks, prosecutors said.

Luchetta told authorities she was upset over a pending divorce and related child-support issues when she drugged her son before cutting her own throat and consuming a large amount of Valium.

Police arrived the next morning to find the child lying unresponsive on a bed after Luchetta awoke and called 911, saying they were attacked by a neighbor with whom she once had a dating relationship, according to court records.

Authorities said Luchetta subsequently admitted she drugged the child, then tried to kill herself, so they could "join her deceased parents in heaven."

"When asked about her conduct, the defendant explained that she was depressed and wanted to end her life, but could not bear to be without (her son)," prosecutors said in a court filing.

Luchetta's medical history includes episodes of depression and bipolar disorder dating to 1999, prosecutors said. Records also indicate she was hospitalized for psychiatric treatment about five years ago, they said.

Luchetta, who is scheduled for arraignment on Wednesday, remained in the county jail Monday on $300,000 bail. If convicted, she faces six to 30 years in prison, prosecutors said.

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