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Judge orders psychiatric exam for Naperville murder suspect, eyes court cameras


Elzbieta Plackowska

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Updated: November 20, 2012 6:51PM

A DuPage County judge ordered Naperville double-murder suspect Elzbieta Plackowska to undergo a psychiatric exam sought by prosecutors who believe she may raise an insanity defense.

Judge Robert Kleeman also tentatively approved allowing media cameras in a Wheaton courtroom for her Nov. 21 arraignment ­— which would mark the first time a criminal proceeding in the Chicago area was photographed or televised.

His ruling follows an Illinois Supreme Court decision to allow broader media coverage of court hearings, which already has resulted in cameras photographing and televising a recent Whiteside County murder trial.

Kleeman held off on a final decision regarding media coverage until next week so he and attorneys in the case can review how cameras would be situated in the 106-seat courtroom. One option under consideration would be to use fixed, courtroom surveillance cameras to televise Plackowska’s arraignment.

“My only concern is just to make sure they don’t interfere with the proceedings,” Kleeman said of courtroom cameras.

Plackowska is accused of fatally stabbing her 7-year-old son, Justin, and 5-year-old Olivia Dworakowski while she was caring for them Oct. 30 at the little girl’s Naperville townhouse.

In statements to police, the 40-year-old Naperville woman allegedly offered differing accounts of the killings but at one point claimed she stabbed the youngsters because they were “poisoned by society” and she needed to “drive the evil” out of them.

Prosecutors said she later admitted concocting those claims and instead told investigators she killed her son because she was angry at her husband. Plackowska allegedly told police she killed Olivia because the little girl had witnessed her son’s murder.

But prosecutors asked that Plackowska quickly be examined by a mental health expert so they are prepared if her attorneys argue she was insane when she allegedly stabbed the children dozens of times after first telling them to kneel and pray.

“It’s important to know what’s going on in the defendant’s mind as close to the crime as possible,” State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said after the hearing.

Plackowska’s court-appointed attorney, Michael Mara, unsuccessfully objected to the timing of the request, arguing prosecutors shouldn’t even seek an evaluation unless or until Plackowska raises an insanity defense.

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