She first told investigators that an intruder had broken into the home and murdered the children. Her story then shifted to tales of voices from the devil commanding her to perform the act. Later, she said that the children were poisoned by society and didn't listen to her as they should. Eventually, however, Elzbieta M. Plackowska admitted that she murdered her 7-year-old son, and his 5-year-old friend, because she was mad at her husband, reports the Chicago Tribune.
She told the children to go to bed. Instead, Justin and Olivia began jumping on the bed in the master bedroom. According to prosecutors, Plackowska went to the kitchen, found a knife, entered the bedroom, and then told the children to pray. She told Justin that he was going to heaven before cutting his throat and stabbing him 100 times. She then stabbed Olivia about 50 times because she was a witness. Two dogs were also stabbed to death in the rampage.
The facts, as alleged by the prosecution, make one wonder how much premeditation went into the murders. In addition to the mentions of prayer and heaven, Plackowska called her church immediately after the murders and left a voicemail asking for help because she had done "something bad." She then drove to the church, which was locked up, before heading to her adult son's home. He called the police. Other reports have stated that she took the children to the church earlier in the day as well.
Her responses indicate that she may have been planning to utilize the insanity defense. Between her statements to the police about the devil's voice, and the numerous other religious references, "the devil made me do it" may have been her planned escape from responsibility. Her later statements that the murder was done because she was mad at her husband for not wanting to move back to Poland probably would prevent that defense from convincing a jury.
In Illinois, the insanity rule is as follows: "A person is not criminally responsible for conduct if at the time of such conduct, as a result of mental disease or mental defect, he lacks substantial capacity to appreciate the criminality of his conduct."
There are some indications, according to the Tribune, that Plackowska may have been suffering severe depression lately as a result of her father's death. Whether that depression rises to the level of insanity by preventing her from appreciating the criminality of murdering two children will be an issue for the jury to decide if the defense is raised.
- Consult a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney (FindLaw)
- Woman Charged With Killing Kids Made Them Pray Before Stabbings (CBS News)
- First Degree Murder Overview (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
- The Insanity Defense Among the States (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)