Defense: 'Astonishing' amount of sympathy for woman accused of killing daughter
As he stood outside a Rolling Meadows courtroom with a woman accused of murdering her severely disabled daughter, attorney Thomas Glasgow said the outpouring of sympathy for his client has been "astonishing."
Bonnie Liltz, 55, of Schaumburg, is charged with first-degree murder in Courtney Liltz's death last month in what authorities say was an unsuccessful murder-suicide attempt.
Prosecutors say Liltz gave her 28-year-old daughter a combination of prescription and over-the-counter medication on May 27, then took some herself.
In a suicide note recovered by authorities, Liltz wrote she feared for her daughter if she were left behind. According to Glasgow, Liltz recently had a recurrence of cancer, for which she was first diagnosed at age 19.
"Everyone has stated what an incredible woman Bonnie is," Glasgow said as Liltz made her second court appearance. He said several strangers even offered to pay her $100,000 bail. Liltz is out on bond after posting the required 10 percent.
Courtney, who had cerebral palsy and required 24-hour care, had the brain function of a 2-year-old, prosecutors said during Liltz's bond hearing last month.
Put up for adoption by her biological parents, Courtney was surrendered by her first adoptive parents, Glasgow said, adding, "this child was cast off twice before by society" before Liltz adopted the then-5-year-old.
"There's been no call for justice for Courtney," he said. "Courtney got justice every day Bonnie took care of her."
Prosecutors declined to comment on the case.
A relative discovered the women alive but unresponsive in their Schaumburg condominium on May 27, and called 911. Police described the home as pristine and Courtney as well cared for.
"If I go first, what will happen to her?" Liltz wrote in the suicide note, according to police. "I don't want her to live in an institution for the rest of her life."
Those fears surfaced recently after Liltz was hospitalized when her cancer recurred, Glasgow said. During Liltz's weeklong hospitalization, Courtney stayed in a facility where the "care was simply not up to Bonnie's standards," Glasgow said.
Liltz's situation resonates with anyone who has a child with disabilities, he said, and it becomes especially troubling once a child reaches a certain age and becomes ineligible for state assistance.
"The elephant in the room is the underfunding for people with disabilities when they reach a certain age," he said.
Liltz next appears in court on July 8. At that hearing, Glasgow will ask that Liltz's belongings be returned to her, including a computer, cellphone and a doll -- Ernie from PBS' "Sesame Street" -- that was a favorite of Courtney's.
"(The doll) means a lot to Bonnie," Glasgow said.