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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Chicago Mom Gave Disabled Daughter Overdose, feared her daughter would be put in an institution

photo: Bonnie Liltz adopted her daughter Courtney
(Chicago - May, 2016) Bonnie Liltz of Chicago botched her suicide after giving a lethal overdose of pills to her disabled daughter - and now faces up to 14 years behind bars.

Bonnie Liltz, 56, pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter after the initial charge of murder was dropped.

Liltz gave the lethal dose of medication to her 28-year-old, adopted disabled daughter, Courtney, who suffered from cerebral palsy.

Her motive: She thought she was dying and feared her daughter would be put in an institution.
Liltz truly believed her death would make her daughter's already challenging life infinitely worse. She saw the overdose as an opportunity to end further suffering before it began. But she also pled guilty to taking her daughter's life - an act regarded as wrong by society and under the law.

DAILY MAIL says Lilts believed she was doing the right thing

Although she could face a maximum of 14 years in prison, she seemed to be in good spirits as she exited the courtroom a year after the death of her daughter.

NBC CHICAGO Rules Out Malice

Nine witnesses testified Tuesday that Liltz was a loving, caring mother to a disabled child who had been given up by her birth mother as well as her first adoptive parents.


Liltz's arrest in June cast a spotlight on the anguish parents of the profoundly disabled can face over what will happen to their children after they die.

Liltz developed her fear of institutional living in 2012 when she was hospitalized for cancer, according to authorities. While she was receiving treatment, Courtney had to stay in a private facility, which she regarded as subpar.

But it was in 2015, when she feared was dying, Liltz made the decision that both she and her daughter should die by her hand.

She broke the medication capsules apart and placed the powder in Courtney's feeding tube, before ingesting some herself, authorities said.

While some observers might regard the overdose-suicide attempt as an act of selfishness, those closest to her say she did it out of love.

"Bonnie really believed she was dying and didn't want to leave Courtney, the love of her life, in the hands of someone else," said Susan Liltz, Bonnie's sister.

                                                                   Disabled Daughter

After the 2012 incident, Bonnie lost all trust in allowing others to care for her daughter. She left a note saying she simply could not leave her disabled daughter behind in the event of her death.
"I am so sorry to put you all through this but I can't leave my daughter behind. ... I go first, what will happen to her?" the note read. "I don't want her to live in an institution for the rest of her life. She is my life."
Prosecutors in the case appear to be exercising leniency in the case, taking numerous accounts by friends and family members that she was indeed a loving and caring mom into consideration. They have not yet requested for a specific sentence.

The case of Bonnie and her daughter, Courtney, is tragic, and it highlights the need to improve care for the severely disabled. It's also worth noting that while the law needs enough room to consider exceptional cases compassionately and fairly, we shouldn't forget that Bonnie had no right take her daughter's life. She had no right to make that decision - even when her daughter couldn't - just as doctors have no right to kill terminally ill patients.


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