One week after a suburban Chicago mom was sentenced to prison for allegedly killing her severely disabled daughter in a botched murder-suicide attempt her attorney says she is gravely ill and in the hospital.
Bonnie Liltz is suffering from complications related to cancer and has been transferred from Cermak Hospital at Cook County Jail to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, her attorney Thomas Glasgow said in court Tuesday.
“Bonnie Liltz’s weight has dropped from 95 to 89 pounds,” Glasgow said. “She’s been unable to properly digest any food that she was given in the Cook County Department of Corrections.”
Glasgow argued that putting Liltz in prison could kill her, an argument he and family members made during her sentencing hearing earlier this month.
A judge agreed to delay Liltz’s transfer to an Illinois prison, at least for now.
Judge Joel Greenblatt last week sentenced Liltz to four years in prison and two years' probation, exceeding prosecutors' recommendation.
Liltz, 56, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter after she gave her 28-year-old daughter, who suffered from cerebral palsy, a number of medications before taking several herself in hopes that they would both overdose. Liltz, a two-time cancer survivor with ongoing major medical issues, recovered, but Courtney died June 5.
In a suicide note, Liltz wrote, "I am having difficulty breathing now. If I go first, what will happen to her? I don't want her to live in an institution the rest of her life. She is my life."
"I thought my intestines were failing and that I was going to die," Liltz said before she was sentenced. "The thought of her having to live in an institution was more than I could bear. The only place I thought you would be safe and happy was in heaven with me."
Liltz had previously pleaded not guilty in the case, but changed her plea after prosecutors agreed to reduce the charge from first-degree murder to involuntary manslaughter. She faced up to 14 years in prison.
I cared for her, I washed her, I fed her and I loved her," Liltz said as she prepared to learn her fate. "I loved her like no one in this room can understand."
Friends and family have said Liltz, who has chronic, profound bowel issues as a result of ovarian cancer from when she was 19, could not survive in prison.
A jail spokesman declined to comment on the criticisms of her treatment, but insisted high quality safe care is the cook County Health system’s highest priority.
Another hearing is scheduled for June 7.