Woman deemed insane in daughter's slaying soon could be released from hospital
A woman who fatally stabbed her 4-year-old daughter in Bloomingdale in 2010 because she feared Satan was trying to kidnap the girl soon could be released from a state mental health hospital.
DuPage County Judge George Bakalis ruled Wednesday that if Marci Webber obeys his orders, she will be placed on five years of conditional release. He wants a report on the matter Nov. 20.
"Being a difficult, disagreeable and narcissistic person may make a person unlikeable but does not establish a person to be a danger to herself or others," Bakalis wrote.
He ordered the Illinois Department of Human Services to transfer Webber from the Elgin Mental Health Center, where she has lived for the past two years, to the less restrictive Chicago-Read Mental Health Center, where she previously was housed after being found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity in 2012.
Bakalis ordered Webber to actively participate in mental health counseling and otherwise cooperate with the Chicago-Read staff.
He also ordered the human services department to find a short-term residential facility for her at the beginning of her conditional release. If it can't, Webber can use a private facility if she can afford it.
Webber, 52, stabbed her daughter, Maggie, to death in Webber's mother's Bloomingdale townhouse, nearly decapitating the child, according to authorities. The words "Satan" and "divine mercy" were scrawled on the bathroom walls, and a religious item was wrapped around one of Maggie's toes.
Webber then slashed her own neck and wrists.
Doctors determined she suffered from a psychosis and she was ordered to serve up to 100 years of confinement.
She told police she killed Maggie to keep her from being kidnapped by Satan and being sold into sexual slavery. She blamed the psychosis on psychotropic medication she was taking to treat mental illnesses.
She has refused to take recommended medication for eight years. A court-ordered psychiatrist testified in August that Webber has not suffered any psychotic episodes in that time, despite having depression, anxiety and borderline personality disorder.
Bakalis noted Webber has been observed only in a secure facility, so she was unable to provide evidence about how she would be on the outside unsupervised. While at Elgin, she has refused to participate in psychiatric treatment or other programs ordered by the human services department.
"But the problem is also, in part, due to the failure of IDHS to even attempt to establish a transition program where petitioner's conduct can be observed outside of the secured environment," Bakalis wrote.
At the August hearing, an department psychiatrist said Webber suffers from hallucinations, delusions and schizoaffective bipolar disorder and is still a threat to herself or others. But he also acknowledged she doesn't show any signs of psychosis.
It was the second time Bakalis has ordered the department to come up with a transition plan for Webber. He did so in November 2017, when he denied her request for discharge.
Webber then tried to take her own life, authorities said, which got her transferred to Elgin.
On Wednesday, she repeated allegations that she has been mistreated while at Elgin. "That place is hell," she told Bakalis, saying her property has been stolen, she has been isolated, and a patient who suffers from diarrhea has been using her clothing. She expressed doubt that the department would follow Bakalis' orders.
Bakalis also questioned the accuracy of the 90-day reports the human services department has provided. A nurse testified in August that after he recorded that Webber was behaving pleasantly and cooperatively, the psychiatrist told him not to record such things, because it would interfere with his ability to get a court to force-medicate Webber. A psychologist at Chicago-Read testified at a previous hearing Webber didn't meet the criteria for mental illness and didn't need to be confined, but signed a treatment plan letter saying she still needed to be in a secured environment.
The testimony "seems to indicate to the court that employees of the Illinois Department of Human Services are directed by their superiors to endorse their superiors' diagnoses even if they disagree with it. ... It calls into question the manner of which IDHS makes reports and what pressure is placed on employees to conform to what supervising doctors feel should be done even if they disagree," Bakalis wrote.