A woman who murdered her four-year-old daughter is one court date away from learning whether she may be spending the holidays with her ailing father in Arizona or with her fellow patients at Chicago-Read Mental Health Center.
Following two days of testimony and legal arguments, Judge George Bakalis will rule on Nov, 13 whether Marci Webber, 50, will be released from the mental hospital or continue serving the lifetime involuntary commitment she was sentenced to in 2012.
If released, Webber said she would like to move to Arizona, where she has a job waiting for her as a caretaker. The move she said would allow her a change of scenery and the opportunity to be with her ailing father.
Webber, a Woodstock native, testified Wednesday that she is free of mental illness and ready to be released. She said Wednesday that her only issue was "a tiny bit of anxiety" while on the witness stand.
The center's medical director Dr. James Corcoran said he fears if Webber were to be released now, without the proper safety net, she would relapse into the mental state she was in in 2010 when she was charged with brutally murdering her daughter, Mallory.
Bakalis sentenced Webber to a 100-year involuntary commitment in July 2012 after she was found not guilty of first degree murder by reason of insanity.
Webber, who has blamed the 2010 psychotic episode on psychotropic medicine, has not taken medicine in four years and said she would continue to be drug-free, even if the drugs were ordered as part of her eventual discharge plan.
"I will not risk the public or myself. I can't take it," she testified. "I would not play with any medications unless I was hospitalized."
Any discharge plan, however, Corcoran said, should include a recommendation that Webber reconsider the use of such medication.
Corcoran also told Bakalis Wednesday that he believes Webber suffers from "mild mood instability," which has caused her to lash out at hospital staff when she doesn't get her way.
Public Defender Jeff York said mild mood instability is not a diagnosable mental illness under current guidelines and should not preclude her from being released.
She's irritated, York said because she doesn't believe she is mentally ill or in need of inpatient therapy.
"Not wanting to be there is not a mental illness," York argued.
Assistant State's Attorney Joe Lindt, however, argued Webber is "not an appropriate candidate for discharge."
"She wants to be the tail that wags the dog," Lindt argued. "She's trying to manipulate the system to her benefit."
A forensic psychologist testified, during her 2012 trial, that Webber appeared to have suffered a "break with reality" when she slashed her daughter's throat at her mother's home in Bloomingdale before turning the knife on herself.
Police arrived later to find Webber had written in blood the words "divine mercy," "Satan" and "evil" on the walls surrounding the crime scene.
Webber later told police that secret societies were out to kill her, and she needed to protect her daughter from being kidnapped by the devil and sold into sexual slavery.