Woman charged in death of disabled daughter back in court

Onlookers crowded into a Rolling Meadows courtroom Thursday expecting a resolution to the case of a Schaumburg woman who authorities say fed herself and her severely disabled adult daughter a combination of prescription and over-the-counter drugs in a failed murder-suicide.

But volumes of evidence prepared on behalf of Bonnie Liltz for Thursday's plea conference prompted Cook County Judge Joel Greenblatt to delay the case so he could "devote a significant amount of attention" to the information supplied by defense attorney Thomas Glasgow.

Liltz, 55, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of her daughter Courtney, 28, who had cerebral palsy, couldn't walk and required 24-hour care. Liltz adopted Courtney when the girl was 5 after Courtney's first adoptive parents surrendered her, Glasgow said. Liltz had been the young woman's primary caregiver ever since.

Prosecutors say Liltz gave the drug concoction to Courtney and took it herself because she feared for her daughter's welfare and didn't want her to suffer if Liltz succumbed to a recurrence of cancer.

"If I go first, what will happen to her? I don't want her to live in an institution for the rest of her life. She is my life," authorities say Liltz wrote in a note that police recovered.

After Liltz's sister was unable to reach her by phone, she went to Liltz's home. where she found the women alive but unresponsive, police said. Liltz regained consciousness. Courtney did not. She died about a week later after doctors removed her from life support.

Glasgow said he fears for his client's life if she is sentenced to prison.

"I don't think she would last very long," he said, citing her ill health and frail condition. "Incarceration would exacerbate those problems."

Among the items Glasgow included in the hefty binder he delivered to Greenblatt are letters from family and friends, adoption records, medical records and statements from advocates for people with disabilities. All of them are testaments to the love Liltz had for Courtney, Glasgow said.

"Hopefully the judge takes everything into consideration," Glasgow said.

Liltz next appears in court on Dec. 16.

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  Bonnie Liltz leaves the Rolling Meadows courthouse after a plea conference Thursday. Bob Chwedyk/
  Bonnie Liltz, left, leaves the Rolling Meadows courthouse Thursday. Bob Chwedyk/
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