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Article posted: 6/28/2013 4:24 PM

Sanity evaluation ordered in 2012 Elgin frying pan murder

By Harry Hitzeman

Defense attorneys have ordered a sanity evaluation for a 35-year-old Elgin woman who is accused of beating her boyfriend to death with a frying pan.

Nora Leach-Peterson, of the 100 block of State Street, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Michael N. Mielczarek, 55, who was found unresponsive and bleeding from the head by paramedics in August 2010, according to court records.

Peterson was found unfit to stand trial earlier this year, but was declared fit about a month ago on charges that could send her in prison for 20 to 60 years.

She is accused of repeatedly hitting Mielczarek with a frying pan, causing him to fall and hit his head.

Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Greg Sams said defense attorneys on Friday asked that Peterson be evaluated by the Kane County Diagnostic Center.

"They want to get an expert opinion on her sanity at the time (of the offense)," Sams said.

Assistant Public Defender Jaqueline Leder could not be reached for comment.

If the evaluation comes back that Peterson was insane at the time, defense attorneys could argue she is not guilty by reason of insanity and ask that she be held in a secure mental health facility.

Defense attorneys also could have her plead guilty but mentally ill and have her get psychiatric treatment while in prison.

Peterson is being held on $750,000 bail and is next due in court on Aug. 23.

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