Woman's trial begins Tuesday in 2012 slaying of two Naperville children
After nearly five years of investigations, psychological exams and thousands of pages of reports and court appearances, a DuPage County judge is finally prepared to hear evidence and testimony in the murder trial of Elzbieta Plackowska, accused of stabbing to death her son and another child.
Attorneys for Plackowska, 45, formerly of the 200 block of East Bailey Road in Naperville, plan to claim she was insane on the evening of Oct. 30, 2012, when she repeatedly stabbed her son, Justin Plackowski, 7, and 5-year-old Olivia Dworakowski. Prosecutors say she killed them while baby-sitting at the younger child's home.
The bench trial, set to begin at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, is expected to last about two weeks.
"There's some stipulated evidence but we still have to prove her guilty," said DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin, who is prosecuting the case. "And the experts are going to take awhile."
Plackowska told investigators she killed her son to get back at her husband, an over-the-road trucker, who spent most days traveling away from home. Olivia was killed because she was a witness, according to prosecutors.
In the days after the slayings, Berlin said the children had been told to go to sleep but were jumping on a bed when Plackowska entered a master bedroom and told them to kneel and pray.
Plackowska is alleged to have told her son "You're going to heaven tonight" as she began stabbing him. She then turned the knife on Olivia.
Plackowska also fatally stabbed two family dogs, according to prosecutors.
Police caught up with her early in the morning of Oct. 31, after she traveled to a friend's home on Violet Circle in Naperville, where her 20-year-old son had been staying. She is alleged to have called her church in Naperville on the way to the friend's home and left a message that she had "done something bad" and needed help.
Someone at the Violet Circle address called police to report that Plackowska arrived covered in blood and claiming she had been robbed. At roughly the same time, Olivia's mother, who had been at work, was calling police because she was locked out of her townhouse and couldn't find Plackowska or her child.
Naperville police officers forced entry into Olivia's home to find blood covering a hall leading to the master bedroom. Investigators found a blood-soaked steak knife in the kitchen sink and another bloody knife in Plackowska's car on Violet. The children were in the bedroom -- Justin on the floor and Olivia on the bed.
After several hours of interrogation, police say Plackowska admitted she killed her son out of spite and Olivia because she witnessed it.
If Plackowska is found to be not guilty by reason of insanity, she could be confined to a state mental hospital rather than prison. If found guilty and sane, she could be sentenced to natural life in prison.
Trial: Woman could serve life sentence if found guilty, sane