Elmhurst mom pleads guilty to drugging son
An Elmhurst woman with a history of mental illness admitted in court Thursday that she drugged her 7-year-old son last year during a dispute with the boy's father.
Cheryl Luchetta, 42, pleaded guilty to aggravated battery to a child in exchange for prosecutors dismissing attempted murder charges. She faces six to 30 years in prison when she is sentenced by DuPage County Judge Daniel Guerin.
Prosecutors said Luchetta fed the victim a potentially fatal mixture of Tylenol PM and Valium before cutting her own throat on June 8, 2011. Police responded to her Elmhurst condominium about 5 a.m. the next day and found the boy unresponsive and Luchetta covered in blood.
Prosecutor Cathy DeLaMar said Luchetta initially claimed an armed intruder had ransacked her home, stabbed her, and drugged her child. She later confessed, saying she couldn't bear to lose custody of her son.
"She indicated she was going through a difficult divorce and wanted to kill herself," DeLaMar said in court, adding that Luchetta left a suicide note for her estranged husband.
The victim, now 8, was hospitalized for several days, during which he was fed through a tube and suffered hallucinations. He was diagnosed with acetaminophen intoxication and dehydration, and was initially unable to walk, DeLaMar said. He needed physical therapy to regain mobility.
Luchetta sobbed and wiped away tears Thursday as she heard the facts of the case. At one point, the judge asked if she wanted to proceed.
"I'm OK," she said quietly. "I apologize."
Luchetta has a history of mental illness but was found fit for trial after an evaluation last year. Prosecutors said her diagnosis was "not consistent with insanity."
Her attorney, Frank Valenti, declined to comment ahead of sentencing.
According to court records, Luchetta's divorce was finalized in February with her ex-husband receiving custody of their son.
As a result of her conviction, Luchetta will be required to register as a violent offender against youth for 10 years upon her release from prison, prosecutors said.
She remains in the county jail and is due back in court Aug. 30.