State Orders Mental Exam for Elmhurst Mother Accused of Trying to Kill Her 7-year-old
Judge has "reasonable belief" Cheryl Luchetta's counsel will pursue insanity defense.
An Elmhurst mother accused of giving her 7-year-old son between five and 15 pills before slitting her own throat last month will undergo a mental evaluation.
DuPage County Circuit Court Judge Daniel P. Guerin granted prosecutors' request to order the mental evaluation for Cheryl Luchetta this morning, with the anticipation her counsel will pursue the insanity defense. Luchetta's counsel reaffirmed its stance that the request was premature.
Guerin held that, based on state statute, prosecutors could order the evaluation before the defense announced which route it would take in trial. Prosecutors chose Dr. James Murray to conduct the evaluation, which typically takes between four and six weeks.
"(Luchetta) told authorities she was depressed, wanted to end her life and couldn't bear to be without her son," Guerin said. "There is a reasonable belief insanity will be used."
Luchetta was charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery to a child last month after she allegedly gave her son a near-lethal dose of prescription medication and then slit her own throat. Both survived, and the boy has since fully recovered and is living with his father, Matthew Luchetta.
Cheryl Luchetta will appear in criminal court on Wednesday, July 20, for her arraignment, where a grand jury will levy charges and possible penalties.
Luchetta Divorce Case Also in Court Today
Also at the courthouse this morning, attorneys working on the drawn-out divorce proceeding between Cheryl and Matthew Luchetta are aiming to finalize the process without evidentiary hearings.
Attorneys on both sides of the divorce case agreed a divorce without testimony would be preferred, at least until Cheryl Luchetta's criminal trial is resolved. Divorce attorneys will meet again Aug. 9 for a status update.
Colette Luchetta-Stendel, who is Matthew Luchetta's cousin, is representing him in the divorce. She said Cheryl Luchetta initially filed for divorce in 2008, but she failed to show up for subsequent hearings.
The judge "doesn't want us to take tesimony that might be contradicted" during the criminal trial, Luchetta-Stendel said. "We can do a lot of things by agreement."