Appellate court blocks release of woman who killed 4-year-old daughter

  • Marci Webber exits the DuPage County courthouse after a 2017 court hearing. An appellate court this week reversed a lower court's decision granting Webber's release from a state mental hospital. Webber killed her young daughter in 2010.

    Marci Webber exits the DuPage County courthouse after a 2017 court hearing. An appellate court this week reversed a lower court's decision granting Webber's release from a state mental hospital. Webber killed her young daughter in 2010. Daily Herald File Photo

  • Marci Webber

    Marci Webber

  • Get a text message like this, purporting to be from the Illinois Secretary of State's Office? It's a scam and should be deleted, Secretary of State Jesse White says.

    Get a text message like this, purporting to be from the Illinois Secretary of State's Office? It's a scam and should be deleted, Secretary of State Jesse White says. Courtesy of Illinois Secretary of State

 
Posted6/11/2021 5:30 AM

Marci Webber, who in 2010 killed her 4-year-old daughter in Bloomingdale because she feared the girl would be kidnapped by Satan, has lost another bid to be freed from a state mental hospital.

The Second District Appellate Court on Wednesday overruled a DuPage County judge's order granting Webber release back in December 2019. Webber had remained in custody while the case was on appeal.

 

The 54-year-old onetime law student was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 2012 of fatally stabbing daughter Magdalene "Maggie" Webber. A religious token was found wrapped on one of the girl's toes, and two religious messages were written in blood on the bathroom wall where she was found. Webber also tried to kill herself, authorities said,

Webber was denied release in 2017, but two years later Judge George Bakalis agreed to let her out. He sided with expert witnesses who said Webber would no longer benefit from in-person treatment and would not be a threat to others or herself if allowed to be free.

He noted that while Webber had not taken psychotropic medication in more than eight years, she was free of hallucinations and psychosis.

"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 in a September 2019 ruling.

After Webber had just 11 days of freedom, DuPage County prosecutors obtained an emergency order from the appellate court putting her back into a mental hospital while the appeal was pending. She has been in the Chicago-Read Mental Health Center ever since.

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In Wednesday's unanimous decision, the appellate panel said Webber has not provided "clear and compelling evidence" that she would not harm herself if released.

"Undoubtedly, defendant would face the same day-to-day problems and annoyances that every other person in our community faces," Justice Susan F. Hutchinson wrote. "However, she and her mental health advocates choose not to address her underlying mental illness and continue to focus solely on her experience with psychotropic medication as the source of all her tribulations. This court fears she will not be able to fulfill the requirements of her conditional release as defendant has not even met (Department of Human Services') requirements for off-unit privileges during her time as a patient."

Still seeking release

Webber has spoken with Susan often about her case since her re-hospitalization in 2019. She says she was psychotic at the time of Maggie's killing because she had abruptly stopped taking antidepressant medication and she believed an angel would stop her from killing her daughter, like in the biblical story of Abraham and his son Isaac.

She says she is being housed on an acute-care unit and that many privileges, such as going outside or having visitors, were stopped during the COVID-19 pandemic. She says group treatment meetings and classes also were suspended and that DHS providers have lied about her in reports submitted to the DuPage court.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"This (the decision) is a continuation of a travesty of justice that dishonors Maggie," Webber said Thursday. "My case has not been about the truth."

She said she will appeal the ruling to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Webber is entitled to keep seeking discharge, and the court has to review her status periodically. Her next court date is Sept. 3.

The DuPage County state's attorney's office declined to comment about the ruling.

The Illinois secretary of state's office is warning residents to be on the lookout for text messages like this one. They're part of a scam to place malware on your device or obtain your personal information, the office says.
The Illinois secretary of state's office is warning residents to be on the lookout for text messages like this one. They're part of a scam to place malware on your device or obtain your personal information, the office says. - Courtesy of Illinois Secretary of State
Scam alert

If you've received a suspicious text message or email recently purporting to be from the Illinois secretary of state and asking you to update your contact information or stating you owe a renewal fee, you're not alone.

Reports of the texts and emails have been popping up in recent weeks, prompting Secretary of State Jesse White to issue a public warning calling the solicitations a scam.

"Delete the text or email," White said. "Do not click on them and do not provide any of your personal information."

White's office said clicking on the link contained in the text or email takes people to fraudulent websites that could place malware on a phone or computer, or trick people into disclosing sensitive personal information. The secretary of state's office never requests personal information, like a Social Security number, via text message or email, White said.

If you have questions about text message scams or identity theft, call the Illinois attorney general's Consumer Fraud Hotline at (800) 386-5438.

Taking input seriously

Every police department says it welcomes input from the community. Lincolnshire's is taking it a step further with the creation of what it's calling the Chief's Community Council for Police Operations.

The council will consist of six to 12 residents and members of the business community who will meet regularly to provide input to department leaders.

Joe Leonas
Joe Leonas

"C3PO is a progressive initiative unlike any other," Chief Joe Leonas said in an announcement of the council's creation. "Its goal is to bring a diverse cross-section of people from our community into the police department to help us address any issues which might negatively affect our profession and the village of Lincolnshire."

Officials say they're looking for people who are committed to serving the public good and engaging in positive communication, and without any preconceived agendas.

The council's formal goals include helping the community gain an understanding of law enforcement operations; assisting with recruitment of a diverse pool of police officer applicants; aiding problem-solving efforts; developing solutions and recommendations for best practices and enhancing a positive culture; and working with the department to ensure the agency is protecting constitutional guarantees and impartially enforcing the law.

Council members will be chosen by Leonas and village trustees. Applications are available on the village website, www.lincolnshireil.gov, or at village hall.

• Have a question, tip or comment? Email us at copsandcrime@dailyherald.com.

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