On Monday, an appellate court affirmed the murder conviction of Elzbieta Plackowska, a 48-year-old former Naperville woman who was found guilty of fatally stabbing her 7-year-old son Justin and Olivia Dworakowski, a 5-year-old girl she was babysitting.
Plackowska was found guilty of first-degree murder in September 2017 at the conclusion of a trial that lasted two weeks.
The killings took place in October 2012 at the condo on Quin Court where Olivia lived with her mother. The children had been jumping on a bed when Plackowska entered the room and stabbed both of them repeatedly.
At the 2017 trial, Plackowska admitted to the murders but pleaded insanity. Defense attorneys said she was suffering a psychotic episode on the night of the murders brought on by the recent death of her father in Poland.
DuPage County Judge Robert Miller ruled at the original trial that although she may have been mentally ill at the time, she knew that her actions were wrong. That decision was affirmed by the Second District Appellate Court of Illinois on Monday.
Plackowska’s defense built her appeal around the notion that the trial court incorrectly determined that she possessed the mental capacity to comprehend her conduct at the time of the murders.
The appellate court rejected her claims, noting that after the murders Plackowska made substantial efforts to avoid detection, including putting the knife down the garbage disposal, discarding her cell phone, making up a story about an intruder as well as changing her story several times.
“I would like to thank the Appellate Court for their thorough analysis of the State’s case against Elzbieta Plackowska and her unfounded claim of insanity as an attempt to avoid spending the rest of her life behind bars,” said DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin in a press release. “The murder of these two innocent children shook the entire community to its core, the reverberations of which can still be felt today.”
Plackowska is sentenced to natural life in prison. She also was found guilty of aggravated animal cruelty for killing two family dogs the same night of the stabbings.
photo courtesy: Illinois States Attorney’s office