An Illinois woman was sentenced Wednesday to four years in prison for killing her severely disabled adopted daughter in a failed murder suicide attempt. The woman, who is battling cancer, despaired over what would happen to her daughter, who only has the cognitive function of a toddler, if her mother was gone. Photo by sergign/Shutterstock.
CHICAGO, May 19 (UPI) -- A mother who admitted to killing her severely disabled adopted daughter in a failed murder-suicide attempt was sentenced Wednesday to four years in prison.
Bonnie Liltz, 56, had several people speak on her behalf, with even prosecutors asking for no jail time after reducing the charges from first degree murder to involuntary manslaughter. However, Judge Joel Greenblatt sentenced her to four years in prison, followed by two years probation.
Lilitz, who has been fighting a long-battle with ovarian cancer and the side effects of its treatment, thought she dying in 2015 when she gave her 28-year-old daughter a lethal dose of painkillers because Lilitz despaired over what would happen to her daughter if her mother wasn't around.
Lilitz's daughter Courtney had cerebral palsy and the cognitive function of a toddler, with only the ability to say "momma" since a seizure when she was two years old.
"I felt the only place I knew she would be safe and happy would be in heaven with me," Liltz told the court last week.
Lilitz's fears are common.
"I sympathize with (parents). They get driven to deep ends," said Curt Decker, executive director of the National Disability Rights Network, which provides legal advocacy group. There is a "major, major concern about how their child survives without their care," he said.
Greenblatt explained at sentencing "Life is precious, even a life that is profoundly disabled. Your daughter, her life was fragile. The choice you made that night was not an act of love. It was a crime."
Lilitz's lawyer, Thomas Glasgow, said he is already preparing an appeal.