Schaumburg mom appeals manslaughter sentence to state supreme court

Attorneys for a Schaumburg mom sentenced to four years for killing her severely disabled daughter have appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court in their latest attempt to keep Bonnie Liltz out of prison.

Attorneys filed the appeal earlier this month arguing the Illinois Department of Corrections cannot properly care for Liltz, 57, who suffers from chronic health issues stemming from treatment for ovarian cancer which seriously damaged her bladder, small intestine and other organs requiring her to use an ostomy pouch.

Incarcerating Liltz violates her constitutional rights in that it subjects her to cruel and unusual punishment, attorney Thomas Glasgow said.

He claims while she was in custody at the Logan Correctional Center, her weight dropped from 98 to 84 pounds. Liltz became malnourished and dehydrated, which on one occasion left her unconscious, Glasgow said. She also experienced dizziness and a rapid heart rate, did not have access to colostomy supplies and did not receive medication for some of her conditions, according to Glasgow.

"She does not have the ability due to her medical condition to process nutrients like you and I," said Glasgow, who argued during Liltz's sentencing hearing that prison could result in her death.

Glasgow's petition includes a letter from Dr. Iulia O'Neill from the Amita Health Medical Group clinic where Liltz was treated. "During her incarceration," the letter reads, "her symptoms have been very poorly controlled, partly due to lack of adequate medication. ... It is my belief that another period of incarceration could be very dangerous for Bonnie."

Liltz admitted feeding her 28-year-old daughter Courtney an overdose of prescription and over-the-counter drugs on May 27, 2015. Liltz said she gave Courtney the drugs and then tried to kill herself because she believed she was dying and worried about what would happen to her daughter.

Initially charged with murder, Liltz pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter on May 10, 2016, as part of a plea agreement with Cook County prosecutors that included four years probation with mental health treatment. Cook County Judge Joel Greenblatt rejected prosecutors' recommendation and sentenced Liltz to the minimum four years in prison.

"Life is precious. Even a life that is disabled. Even a life that is profoundly disabled," Greenblatt said. "Your daughter, Courtney Liltz, was innocent and vulnerable and fragile. Her life was fragile. All life is fragile."

An appellate court last month let Greenblatt's ruling stand. Liltz remains free on bail pending the Illinois Supreme Court's review.

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