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Mom who slashed daughter’s throat not guilty by reason of insanity

Marci Webber

Marci Webber

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Updated: June 7, 2012 6:38PM

Marci Webber fatally slashed her 4-year-old daughter’s throat in a delusional attempt to protect the girl from being kidnapped, sexually abused and killed, a DuPage County judge ruled Thursday.

“Love can be a nurturing thing. Love, when coupled with paranoia, apparently can be a very destructive force,” Judge George Bakalis said as he found the 45-year-old Webber not guilty by reason of insanity in her youngest daughter’s 2010 slaying.

The Bloomingdale woman had acted irrationally just before the brutal killing, prosecutors said earlier Thursday, including telling a relative she feared “Satan was going to kidnap” Magdalene--called “Maggie” by family members.

She also told police after the brutal Nov. 3, 2010 that she worried shadowy figures she believed were watching her would take Maggie and sell her into sex slavery or kill her, prosecutors said.

Webber was charged with slashing Maggie’s throat in the bathtub at a family member’s suburban townhouse, then cutting her own throat and wrist. Police found words scrawled in the blood smearing the bathroom walls, including “divine mercy,” “Satan” and “evil,” prosecutor Tim Diamond said during Webber’s one-day trial.

As Bakalis made his ruling, Webber buried her face in her hands, then wiped tears from her eyes.

Her oldest daughter said she was convinced her mother was insane when she killed Maggie.

“I know my mom wouldn’t have done it if she wasn’t insane,” said 19-year-old Mallory Webber, who found Maggie dead and her mother badly injured.

She said her mother had sought mental health treatment for years but received little help.

“It’s very unfortunate the mental health system has failed her,” Mallory Webber said.

Her mother will be evaluated and then treated in a locked mental health facility. A judge ultimately would have to approve her release if doctors deem her fit to be set free.

If she had been convicted, Webber would have faced up to 100 years in prison.

Webber was suffering from psychotic symptoms that left her unable to understand her actions when she killed her daughter, said Orest Wasyliw, a psychologist who examined her at the behest of prosecutors and concluded she was insane.

“In her irrational mind, killing (Maggie) may have a way to save her,” Wasyliw said, noting Webber had long battled paranoid delusions that she was being watched, followed and harassed.

Diamond had contended Webber was sane, noting she first tried to implicate an unknown intruder in the stabbing.

Diamond also insisted Webber’s desperate financial circumstances and her fear she could lose custody of Maggie in a dispute with the child’s father prompted her to kill the girl.

“There are other intentional, rational [reasons] for Ms. Webber to kill her daughter,” Diamond said.

Webber — a former Woodstock resident — had only weeks earlier moved from New York to the Chicago area to live with family members.

Questioned by investigators in the hospital after her daughter’s death, Webber admitted she inflicted the nearly seven-inch long cut that nearly decapitated the 30-pound child, prosecutors said.

“She said she killed her daughter to protect her from people who were after her ... who wanted to sell Maggie into the sex trade,” said Diamond.

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