Ms Liltz gave her first public statement since she was charged last year with first-degree murder in the death of her 28-year-old daughter Courtney. Liltz pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, involuntary manslaughter, earlier this week, and prosecutors on Wednesday recommended that she receive probation, rather than prison time.
Judge Joel Greenblatt said he will announce his sentence next week. Liltz could face up to 14 years in prison.
The 56-year-old Schaumburg woman, who appeared frail and at times cried, read a statement in court Wednesday in which she described adopting Courtney at age 5 as “the happiest day of my life.”
“I never felt that she was a burden. Every day was a privilege,” she said of caring for her daughter, who could not feed herself or talk and had limited mobility.
But Liltz described her growing fears about what would happen to her daughter as her own health declined after have suffered from recurring cancer and severe intestinal problems.
“I felt the only place she would be safe would be in heaven with me,” Liltz said. “… I have a pain inside that is beyond words. I pray every day that someday we will be together again.”
Prosecutors recommended Wednesday that Liltz receive four years of probation, plus mental health treatment, in the case.
Authorities have said that Liltz placed an overdose of medication into Courtney’s feeding tube and took some of the medication herself, intending to take her own life too. Liltz left a suicide note saying in part: “I don’t want (Courtney) to live in an institution for the rest of her life. She is my life.”
Several family members and other supporters testified Tuesday seeking leniency for Liltz.
“When she took the medication, she decided to take Courtney with her,” Bonnie’s father, Victor Liltz, said. “It was an act of love.”
The case has touched a nerve among those who sympathize with the plight of parents of the severely disabled and those who believe it’s never acceptable to take another human life.
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