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updated: 5/19/2017 8:02 AM

Schaumburg mother ordered back to prison for disabled daughter's death

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  • Bonnie Liltz might have to return to prison to serve a four-year term stemming from the 2015 death of her severely disabled daughter. A state appellate court last week rejected her appeal of the sentence, ruling that a judge was within his authority to send her to prison, even though prosecutors recommended probation.

      Bonnie Liltz might have to return to prison to serve a four-year term stemming from the 2015 death of her severely disabled daughter. A state appellate court last week rejected her appeal of the sentence, ruling that a judge was within his authority to send her to prison, even though prosecutors recommended probation.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer, 2016

  • The Bluesmobile appeared on the shore of Bangs Lake in Wauconda in September 1979 for "The Blues Brothers" movie. You can get your own version of the Bluesmobile at an upcoming Lake County auction.

    The Bluesmobile appeared on the shore of Bangs Lake in Wauconda in September 1979 for "The Blues Brothers" movie. You can get your own version of the Bluesmobile at an upcoming Lake County auction.
    Courtesy of Mary Beth Jachec

  • Environmental activist Erin Brockovich will be the featured speaker today at the Chicagoland Fraud Conference at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates.

    Environmental activist Erin Brockovich will be the featured speaker today at the Chicagoland Fraud Conference at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates.
    AP File Photo

 

Bonnie Liltz, the Schaumburg mother convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the 2015 death of her severely disabled daughter, soon could be headed back to prison to serve a 4-year stretch.

Her attorney tells us it might as well be a death sentence for the seriously ill 57-year-old cancer survivor.

A state appeals court last week rejected Liltz's appeal of the sentence, ruling that Cook County Judge Joel Greenblatt was well within his rights to send her to prison, even though prosecutors and her defense team both argued for probation.

Liltz remains free on bond for now while her attorneys ponder their next move.

"If she goes back to prison, I believe there is a very real likelihood she's going to die," defense attorney Thomas Glasgow said.

Liltz spent a few months in prison last year before being released in August pending the appeal of her sentence. During her incarceration, Glasgow said, her weight fell to 86 pounds, she suffered from dehydration and experienced incontinence.

"The Illinois Department of Corrections is simply not the type of place that can handle her health concerns," he said.

What's next?

Liltz's attorneys now have three choices: ask the Illinois Supreme Court to take the case; seek a rehearing before the appellate court; or take the case back to Greenblatt and ask him to reconsider the sentence, given Liltz's ongoing medical struggles.

Glasgow said the defense team will meet in the coming days to decide which avenue to pursue. They have until two weeks from today to decide.

Liltz initially was charged with first-degree murder in the death of 28-year-old daughter Courtney, who had cerebral palsy and required 24-hour care. Her defense said Liltz was suffering from a variety of physical ailments -- some the result of two battles with cancer -- and believed she was near death when she gave her daughter a fatal overdose of prescription pills and then tried to kill herself.

Although prosecutors and defense lawyers agreed she deserved probation after pleading guilty last May, Greenblatt ordered prison, stating, "Life is precious, even a life that is disabled, even a life that is profoundly disabled."

A Bluesmobile all your own?

Ever wanted to make like Elwood Blues and drive around town in an old suburban police car bought at auction?

Now's your chance. On Saturday, June 3, Lake County will be auctioning out-of-service patrol vehicles -- along with a host of other cars, trucks, SUVs and construction equipment -- at the county fairgrounds in Grayslake.

Among the vehicles up for grabs are a pair of 2013 Ford Crown Victoria Interceptors, along with several older Ford Crown Vics used by the sheriff's office. For a full list, visit www.obenaufauctions.com/june-3-2017-live-auction/.

For the record, the Bluesmobile featured in the 1980 "Blues Brothers" movie was a 1974 Dodge Monaco that, according to the plot, was a decommissioned Mount Prospect police car bought at auction by Elwood, after he traded in his previous ride for a microphone. In reality, 13 different cars were used in the making of the movie, all of them bought from the California Highway Patrol.

Award-winning performances

Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 Arlington Heights Crime Stoppers awards: Officer Petar Milutinovic, Officer Sean Edmondson and Victim Services Coordinator Kristin Eby.

Milutinovic joined the department in 2008 and now serves in its criminal investigations bureau. Edmondson, a 10-year veteran of the force, also is assigned to the Criminal Investigation Bureau, where he specializes in gang crimes enforcement and last year won the 2016 Cook County Regional Organized Crime Award.

Eby provides services to victims and their families, including crisis intervention, case management, court advocacy and education on victim rights.

Brockovich in the burbs:

Famed environmental activist Erin Brockovich -- the one Julia Roberts won an Oscar for playing in the eponymous movie -- will be in the suburbs today for the 6th annual Chicagoland Fraud Conference.

She's the featured speaker at the event, held at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, and also will receive the Conference Ethics Award. Brockovich rose to prominence in the 1990s when as a law clerk she helped build the legal case against a California utility that was contaminating a town's drinking water,

Also expected at the conference is Jeffrey Wigand, a former tobacco industry scientist whose whistle-blowing was chronicled in the movie "The Insider" (with Russell Crowe starring as Wigand).

Out of their hands

The case of the not-quite-exonerated Mario Casciaro is now in the hands of a special prosecutor.

A judge this week granted the McHenry County state's attorney's request to hand over the case to the Illinois Appellate Prosecutor's Office. The county prosecutor -- who is being sued by Casciaro in federal court for wrongful prosecution -- cited the potential for conflict of interest.

Casciaro, formerly of Fox Lake, was freed from prison in 2013 after an appellate court tossed out his murder conviction in the 2002 disappearance and presumed slaying of Johnsburg teen Brian Carrick.

However, Casciaro has never formally been declared "innocent," something he's asking the courts to do. McHenry County prosecutors have been fighting the request.

The matter has been set over for a June 15 court date.

• Got a tip? Send an email to copsandcrime@dailyherald.com or call (847) 427-4483.

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