Suburban mom admits to stabbing autistic son to death

FOX 32 NEWS - A west suburban mother who stabbed her own son to death because of his deteriorating autistic condition admitted to the crime Thursday in a Maywood courtroom.

Three months after Dorothy Spourdalakis told FOX 32 News she was helpless in coping with her son Alex, a 14-year-old with severe autism, she and the boy's godmother stabbed him to death. Then, they tried to kill themselves with sleeping pills, but failed. Both women were charged with murder.

On Thursday, they reached a plea deal with prosecutors, pleading guilty to  involuntary manslaughter with sentences of four years apiece.

“We'd been talking to the state for years now, trying to work it out, and luckily, I guess, justice does have compassion, because today was a just result,” said defense attorney Mike Botti.

With credit for time served, both women should be released next week. In court, a prosecutor had described how Alex's life had been filled with hospitalizations, restraints, failed treatments and violent, uncontrollable behavior.

“She had zero options. When you have no money and your taking your son to facilities that won't take him, and she had nowhere to turn. And she didn't want to see her son treated like that anymore,” Botti said.

A home therapist who helped Alex's family says that parents of children with autism face difficult choices as their children become adults.

“A big concern is what's going to happen to these kids when their parents die? And there's not an option,” home therapist Amy Lukos said.

Spourdalakis's attorney described his client's feelings.

“Incredibly sad, I mean, she just was crying, I'm sure she's relieved but I guess, like I said before, there's a lot of guilt there,” Botti said.

Judge Gull, who accepted the plea agreement, said both sides had worked together to reach a compassionate conclusion to the case.