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updated: 9/21/2017 8:55 PM

Psychiatrist: Naperville mother killed kids 'out of love -- not anger'

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  • Elzbieta Plackowska, shown during opening statements, is accused of killing her son and young girl she was baby-sitting on Oct. 30, 2012, in Naperville.

      Elzbieta Plackowska, shown during opening statements, is accused of killing her son and young girl she was baby-sitting on Oct. 30, 2012, in Naperville.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Elzbieta Plackowska's double murder trial continues with cross-examination of a psychiatrist.

    Elzbieta Plackowska's double murder trial continues with cross-examination of a psychiatrist.

 
 

Prosecutors are challenging a psychiatrist's assertion that Elzbieta Plackowska was psychotic in 2012 when she killed her son and a young girl she was baby-sitting in Naperville.

Forensic psychiatrist Phillip Resnick says the Naperville woman thought she was "killing the devil" and letting 7-year-old Justin Plackowski and 5-year-old Olivia Dworakowski go to heaven when she stabbed them to death.

"This was a killing out of love -- not anger," Resnick testified Thursday morning during Plackowska's double-murder trial. He says there was no rational motive for the crime.

In addition to killing the children, Plackowska, 45, also is accused of fatally stabbing two dogs.

Prosecutors argue that Plackowska killed her son to get back at her husband, a trucker who spent most days traveling away from home. They say her murderous rage was fueled by alcoholism and a feeling of worthlessness.

Despite thinking the kids went to heaven, Plackowska had second thoughts within an hour of repeatedly stabbing Justin and Olivia on the night of Oct. 30, 2012, Resnick testified.

During cross-examination, DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said evidence suggests that Plackowska's doubts happened "within seconds or minutes of committing the murders" at Olivia's home.

Before leaving the townhouse, prosecutors say, Plackowska put one of the knives she used into the kitchen sink and covered it up with dishes. She also locked the front door and closed all the doors in the hallway leading to the master bedroom where the children were killed.

In addition, Plackowska tried to wash her hands before leaving through the back door of the townhouse. She later told police that was because it looked like she did something wrong and that she thought about killing herself.

Plackowska traveled to a friend's house in Naperville. While en route, she called her church and left a message saying she "saw the devil" and "did something wrong." At one point, she removed the back cover of her cellphone and threw the device out of her car. She later said she got rid of the cellphone because she didn't want police to track her.

When she got to the friend's house, Plackowska lied and said an intruder killed the kids. Someone at the house called police.

Berlin also presented evidence showing that Plackowska had a rocky relationship with her husband.

Resnick testified that Plackowska loved her husband and thought they had a successful marriage overall. Therefore, Resnick said, it wasn't plausible that Plackowska would kill her son to get back at her husband.

But Berlin noted that Plackowska made numerous statements that she was upset with her husband for being gone so much. One of her friends said that Plackowska was angry because the husband would do nothing with her or the family. Plackowska even threatened to divorce her husband three days before the murders.

In interviews after the crime, Plackowska's 23-year-old son said his mother had a problem with alcohol. But Plackowska told Resnick that she didn't have an alcohol problem.

Berlin also took aim at Resnick's conclusion that Plackowska killed the kids because she thought they were possessed. Plackowska told Resnik and another psychiatrist that she saw "a black shadow" appear in the room with her and the children.

According to Resnick, Plackowska killed the kids because she believed the devil was taking control of them.

Berlin, however, pointed out that Plackowska never said during the interviews that she saw the devil in the kids.

The cross-examination of Resnick is expected to continue Friday morning.

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