Evaluation sought for Mundelein teen accused of stabbing half-sister
By Rick Kambic firstname.lastname@example.org | @Rick_Kambic February 14, 2014 11:42AM
Depke Juvenile Justice Complex in Vernon Hills. | Rick Kambic/Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 4, 2014 11:45AM
Prosecutors have not yet decided if the 14-year-old Mundelein girl accused of stabbing her half-sister will be tried as an adult or minor.
After a Feb. 14 status update, defense attorneys Michael Conway and Michael Goode said attorneys from both sides are still working to find an expert psychologist, and the psychologist’s evaluation will be vital in deciding the charges.
“Our goal is to keep this in the juvenile court,” Goode said outside the Depke Juvenile Justice Complex in Vernon Hills. “They will look at factors like the girl’s age, maturity level and nature of the alleged crime.”
Conway said a report should be completed and available in five to six weeks.
The girl fully complied with instructions from deputies and she appeared attentive in front of Judge Valerie Ceckowski on Feb. 14, but Goode said she’s still very distraught.
“There are no winners here,” Goode said. “It’s a sad situation involving all good people.”
Also in court for the status update was the girl’s mother and stepfather, who is also the victim’s father. All family members declined to comment afterward.
The girl allegedly stabbed her 11-year-old half-sister on the morning of Jan. 21 in a fit of anger, with officials saying she told the victim that the girl did not appreciate the work she did for her as she repeatedly stabbed the girl with a knife.
According to officials, the teen initially told police an intruder killed her half-sister, leading to a brief lockdown of nearby schools.
She later confessed when confronted with evidence, including hair strands found in the victim’s hands.
The eighth-grader pleaded not guilty on Jan. 31 to one count of first degree murder with intent to kill or cause great bodily harm in the death of her half-sister; one count of stabbing the 11-year-old with the knowledge that such action could cause death; and one count of murder with the knowledge that the action could cause great bodily harm or death.
If the girl is convicted or pleads guilty as a juvenile, as she is currently charged, she could be held in juvenile custody up until her 21st birthday or under some circumstances could be placed in a monitored outside home.
Officials have said that if she is tried and convicted as an adult, she would be held in juvenile custody for several years but then could be transferred to the Illinois Department of Corrections to serve an adult prison term for first-degree murder, which can range from 20 to 60 years.
Last month, Judge Valerie Ceckowski set a pretrial date of March 14.
Sun-Times Media is not naming the victim because she shares a name with the minor charged in the case.
Ceckowski also issued an order Jan. 22 that the name of the minor as well as the victim “shall not be disclosed” and that the directive remained in “full force for everyone here today.”
The case has been reported nationally, drawing attention in part due to the age of the defendant.