ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. (FOX 32/AP) - A judge on Wednesday sentenced a suburban Chicago woman to four years in prison in the death of her severely disabled daughter, dismissing requests by the prosecution and defense to give her just probation after she pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter.
Cook County Judge Joel Greenblatt ordered that 56-year-old Bonnie Liltz, of Schaumburg, be taken into custody immediately.
"The choice you made was not an act of love, it was a crime," Greenblatt told Liltz.
Liltz stood quivering and crying with her eyes closed, and her lawyers helping her stand as Judge Joel
Greenblatt sentenced her Wednesday afternoon.
"I went back with my client and I held her hand,while she wept. for fifteen minutes," said defense attorney Thomas Glasgow.
He also said she's a cancer survivor and ongoing intestinal illness will make prison difficult.
"The minute she goes into the penal system is going to be a trying time for her whether it's one day or whether its four years," Glasgow said.
Liltz, who had originally been charged with first-degree murder, faced a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison. She agreed to plead guilty last week after prosecutors reduced the charge to involuntary manslaughter.
Liltz read a statement in court last week saying she never felt Courtney, who had cerebral palsy, was a burden. But the two-time cancer survivor said she feared what would happen to her daughter as her own health declined. She said she gave Courtney a combination of prescription drugs and took the mix herself.
In May 2015, Liltz and her 28-year-old daughter were found unresponsive in their Schaumburg home. Liltz recovered, but Courtney died days later without regaining consciousness.
Friends and family said Liltz cared tirelessly for her daughter, who was unable to communicate, eat or bathe herself.
"I am absolutely mystified as everybody else sitting in that courtroom was, why the sentence was what it was," Glasgow added.