A mother accused of slashing her daughter's throat was found not guilty by reason of insanity Thursday in a bench trial that lasted a single day.
Prosecutors opened their case against Marci Webber, of Bloomingdale, and had rested by midday. The defense spent the afternoon making the case that Webber, 45, was insane at the time of the slaying, which occurred weeks after she had moved from New York to the Chicago area to live with family members.
It was enough for Judge George Bakalis to reach his verdict.
The body of Webber's youngest daughter, 4-year-old Magdalene "Maggie" Webber, was found by her sister in November 2010. Police found several words scrawled in the blood smearing the bathroom walls, including "divine mercy," "Satan" and "evil," prosecutor Tim Diamond said.
Marci Webber was charged with five counts of first-degree murder. She entered a not guilty plea.
She expressed strong religious beliefs on her Facebook and MySpace pages at the time of the killing, making statements such as, "I am a very Catholic person, who likes to visit national shrines, especially those of Franciscans," the Times Union reported.
Questioned by investigators in the hospital after her daughter’s death, Webber admitted she inflicted the nearly seven-inch long cut that killed and 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.
Webber told her 19-year-old daughter hours before the killing that she thought Satan was going to take Maggie from her, Diamond said.
"Satan was going to kidnap Maggie and have sex with Maggie," Diamond said, quoting what Webber allegedly said during a Nov. 2 phone call with her daughter, Mallory.