Prosecutors: Lombard woman strangled mother after fight over jewelry

Less than 24 hours after being charged with stealing several pieces of her mother's jewelry, Stephanie DeFalco couldn't believe her mom was kicking her out of the house.

So, prosecutors say, she strangled her.

DuPage County Judge Jeffrey MacKay set bail at $3 million Friday for DeFalco, 28, of the 100 block of Grace Street in Lombard.

Prosecutors charged her with a single count of first-degree murder in the death of Judith DeFalco, 61.

Assistant State's Attorney Thomas Minser said DeFalco had been charged Monday with misdemeanor theft after stealing a pair of gold and emerald earrings, two sapphire rings and one diamond ring belonging to her mother and pawning them for $252.

After posting her $1,500 bail and returning home, Minser said Stephanie DeFalco and her mother had an argument that lasted into the morning hours of Tuesday. Judith DeFalco was strangled after ordering her daughter to leave the house.

Judith DeFalco also was found with blunt force trauma wounds to her head.

Minser said Woodridge police found Stephanie driving her mother's car at 1:40 a.m. Wednesday and arrested her. She also was found with heroin and drug paraphernalia, he said.

Minser said DeFalco stole money, a cellphone and more jewelry from her mother after killing her and leaving Judith in her bed.

During the investigation, DeFalco admitted to "choking her mother out," Minser said.

"Judith's surviving family and friends have suffered a devastating loss, and to them I offer my sincerest condolences," DuPage County State's Attorney Berlin said in a written statement. "What makes this case particularly difficult is that the defendant is the victim's own daughter. So now, as the DeFalco family says goodbye to Judith, I wish them strength and courage as they find themselves looking at a family member accused of her murder."

If DeFalco, who worked at UPS, posts bail, she will be monitored with a GPS device and ordered to home confinement.

Her next court date is scheduled for April 6.

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