Insane or just irked? Bartlett man on trial, accused of killing mother

Edward Mitzelfeld knew what he was doing when he stabbed his 93-year-old mother to death in their Bartlett home nearly five years ago, prosecutors say.

“He had motive: He was sick of his mom, sick of her nagging, tired of her comments, tired of her busting his (chops),” DuPage County Assistant State’s Attorney Alyssa Rabulinski said at the start of Mitzelfeld’s murder trial in the slaying of Frances Kelly.

But Mitzelfeld’s defense attorney says his client wasn’t just irked. He was insane — suffering from psychosis at the time of the deadly attack due to schizophrenia.

“His mind was powerless against the tidal wave of psychosis,” Assistant Public Defender Edmund Laube told Judge Daniel Guerin, who is hearing the trial.

Mitzelfeld, now 69, stabbed Kelly 18 times on May 29, 2019, Rabulinski said.

Before stabbing her, Mitzelfeld tried twice to strangle her while she was lying on a couch, according to Rabulinski.

Mitzelfeld called police on himself, about 20 minutes later.

At issue is whether Mitzelfeld lacked “substantial capacity to appreciate the criminality of their conduct at the time of the offense.” That’s the standard, under state law, for verdicts of not guilty by reason of insanity or guilty but mentally ill.

Prosecutors: Man stabbed 93-year-old mother 12 times, made sure she was dead before calling 911

Mitzelfeld has not testified. But video-recorded statements he gave police and the defense’s expert psychiatrist, Dr. Carl Wahlstrom, have been played in court.

In them, Mitzelfeld discusses his bizarre thinking in the days leading up to the killings — such as his car being taken over by persons unknown and causing him to crash while driving more than 100 mph near Normal, and voices telling him to make wrong turns while walking home from a sandwich shop. He claimed his mother sent “power surges” into him to cause headaches and there were spirits in his car because his mom put a curse on him in the 1960s.

“He was decompensating with his psychosis and that breakdown in his ordinary thinking drove him to attack and kill his mom,” Wahlstrom said.

However …

Rabulinski said Mitzelfeld told a court-ordered psychologist that Kelly had become bitter and whiny, and nagged him.

He also told police he wanted his mother dead his whole life, according to Rabulinski. And without his car after the crash, Mitzelfeld was stuck at home with her.

“The only way to get out of this situation was to murder his mother,” Rabulinski said.

Laube said Mitzelfeld was diagnosed with a mental disorder in 1994 and received psychiatric care and coping training from the DuPage County Health Department until 2017, when the program ended. He then was seen only by a primary-care doctor.

The trial resumes March 22.

Fashion police?

Practicality is the priority when it comes to police officer uniforms, but who minds a little flair to go with all that function?

The website Wealth of Geeks recently conducted a poll of 3,000 Americans asking them to identify the “sexiest state police uniforms.”

The khaki shirts and dark green pants topped with a brown campaign hat worn by our Illinois State Police troopers finished in the middle of the pack, at 18th overall.

  The khaki shirts and green pants worn by Illinois State Police troopers make up the 18th sexiest state police uniforms in the country, according to a poll conducted by the website Wealth of Geeks. Brian Hill/, 2019

“The ensemble is cinched with a belt that draws the line between duty and fashion,” Wealth of Geeks said in its report on the survey. “And let's not overlook the pièce de résistance: the campaign hat, worn with an air that’s both scholarly and daring.”

The campaign hats worn by Illinois State Police troopers are the “pièce de résistance” of the 18th sexiest state police uniforms in the country, according to a poll conducted by the website Wealth of Geeks. Daily Herald file

Which troopers don the most tantalizing duds? The Texas Department of Public Safety, according to the poll, followed by the New Hampshire State Police, Missouri State Highway Patrol, New Jersey State Police and the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

It’ll be a while

After jurors found him guilty of sex trafficking and other charges in 2018, Naperville pimp Benjamin Biancofiori declared “The streets haven’t seen the last of me,” according to federal prosecutors.

Maybe not, but it’ll be a long time coming.

A federal appeals court last week upheld Biancofiori’s conviction and 30-year prison sentence in a brief ruling that rejects his arguments that the statute under which he was prosecuted is unconstitutionally vague.

Benjamin Biancofiori

“We do not perceive any other plausible constitutional argument against the statute’s application to Biancofiori,” Justice Frank Easterbrook wrote in the unanimous decision by the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

Biancofiori, now 44, was found guilty of sex trafficking conspiracy, sex trafficking by force and obstructing law enforcement charges stemming from allegations that between 2007 and 2016 he forced nine women to engage in prostitution.

Authorities said he beat women if they tried to escape his clutches or failed to turn over their earnings. One woman testified that she worked every day and saw eight or nine clients a day, with the $1,250 to $2,000 she made daily going to Biancofiori.

She told jurors Biancofiori controlled practically every aspect of her life, including her use of heroin and how much she could spend on food. She said he hit her, threatened her family and took away her Social Security card and birth certificate.

Biancofiori is serving his time at a federal prison in Pennsylvania. He’s not eligible for release until April 2042.

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