Bartlett man found guilty but mentally ill in murder of his mother

A Bartlett man who stabbed his elderly mother to death in 2019 was found guilty but mentally ill of first-degree murder on Friday.

Edward Mitzelfeld, 69, knew what he was doing was wrong when he stabbed 93-year-old Frances Kelly in the kitchen of the home the Bartlett home they shared, DuPage County Judge Daniel Guerin ruled.

His defense attorneys had argued Mitzelfeld should be found not guilty by reason of insanity. They said he was insane at the time of the attack on May 29, 2019, and lacked substantial capacity to appreciate the criminality of his conduct.

Guerin said their evidence was insufficient.

Guerin agreed that Mitzelfeld was mentally ill at the time. Experts for the defense and the prosecution testified he had either schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder with bipolar tendencies. Mitzelfeld was diagnosed 30 years ago.

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Mitzelfeld did not testify, but during the trial, videos of interviews by police and a defense expert were played. In those videos, Mitzelfeld spoke of his mother sending headache-inducing “power surges” into his head, and that she had promised to stop doing so, but reneged on the promise.

Prosecutors alleged that Kelly was suffering from dementia, and had become increasingly difficult with whom to live. “He had motive. He was sick of his mom, sick of her naggings, tired of her comments, tired of her busting his balls,” Assistant State’s Attorney Alyssa Rabulinski said during opening arguments.

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In the days leading up to the killings, Mitzelfeld said, persons unknown had taken over his car and caused him to crash at more than 100 mph near Normal. He had also heard voices telling him to make wrong turns while walking home from a sandwich shop.

Several days before the killing, he visited the Bartlett Police Department to report there were spirits in his car because of a curse his mother had put on him in the 1960s.

A defense psychiatrist testified Mitzelfeld was in and out of psychosis the day of the murder, but Guerin said the psychiatrist seemed to be trying to “shoehorn” that in. Guerin also said that when interviewed after the murder, Mitzelfeld made “pretty direct” statements acknowledging he knew killing someone was wrong.

Mitzelfeld can be sentenced to 20 to 60 years in prison. His next court date is May 10.

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