An Illinois women who admitted to killing her disabled daughter with a lethal dose of pills was sentenced to just four years in prison on Wednesday, ABC News 13 reports.
Bonnie Liltz, 56, was the primary caregiver for her 27-year-old daughter Courtney who had severe cerebral palsy, according to the report. The Schaumburg, Illinois woman has cancer, and said she thought she was going to die last May. Believing no one would take care of Courtney after she was gone, she gave her daughter a lethal dose of pills and then took an overdose to kill herself, too, according to the news station. Liltz managed to kill her daughter, but she survived her suicide attempt.
Liltz’s lawyers argued that she acted out of compassion and mercy for her daughter, and managed to convince a judge that Liltz should receive a less harsh sentence for her crime. On Wednesday, Judge Joel Greenblatt sentenced Liltz to four years in prison followed by two years of probation, the report states.
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Here’s more from the report:
The judge had a wide range of sentencing options, including anything from probation to 17 years in prison. Prosecutors reduced the charge from first degree murder to involuntary manslaughter.
Last week, Liltz made an emotional plea at her sentencing hearing, where she asked the judge not to send her to prison for taking the life of her daughter.
… Judge Greenblatt explained his ruling, saying, “Life is precious, even a life that is profoundly disabled. Your daughter, her life was fragile. The choice you made that night was not an act of love. It was a crime.”
The judge revoked bond for Liltz immediately and took her into custody.
Her lawyers and friends thought the sentence was too harsh, though. According to the report, the courtroom was full of friends and relatives, many of whom cried as the judge read the sentence. Several of them had testified on Liltz’s behalf, saying she was a dedicated mother and caregiver to Courtney, the report states.
Attorney Thomas Glasgow said, “I am absolutely mystified as everyone else sitting in that courtroom why the sentence was what it was.” He said they plan to appeal.
Liltz’ actions are the type that euthanasia advocates believe should be legal. Euthanasia proponents argue that some lives are not worth being protected because they are disabled and dependent on others. Euthanasia is a dangerous concept that devalues people’s lives by basing human worth on arbitrary standards, such as physical or mental capability or suffering. Already, several European countries have legalized euthanasia. The Netherlands, which allows euthanasia on children, recently approved euthanasia for a sexual abuse victim who was suffering with depression.
The pro-life position, on the other hand, recognizes that every human life is valuable, without exceptions, and deserves to be protected under the law.