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Elmhurst Woman Found Not Guilty of Attempted Murder of Her Infant Grandson

Sandra Clanton ruled not guilty by reason of insanity

After a brief, stipulated bench trial Thursday, Judge Daniel Guerin found 40-year-old Elmhurst resident not guilty by reason of insanity in the attempted murder of her young grandson last year.

Guerin considered evidence agreed to by Assistant State's Attorney Michael Pawl and Clanton's attorney, Michael Walsh, which included witness testimony and a lengthy psychological exam that deemed Clanton mentally ill and unable to understand her actions. Clanton declined to testify.

Ultimately, Guerin said Pawl had proven Clanton attempted to murder her grandson, but Walsh showed sufficient evidence that Clanton was insane during the Sept. 11, 2010, incident inside her Elmhurst apartment.

At Pawl's request, Guerin ordered Clanton be evaluated by the Illinois Department of Human Services within the next 30 days to determine the proper treatment for her. That report is expected back by an Aug. 23 court date. Clanton will remain held without bond in DuPage County Jail until at least that time.

Prosecutors contended Clanton took her 10-month-old grandson by the neck and slammed him onto a kitchen counter before grabbing a kitchen knife with a six-inch blade, Pawl said. The boy suffered a bruise on his head and a cut under his eye, but escaped more serious harm when Clanton's fiancée stepped in to fend her off.

Clanton told police the boy was the "antichrist," Pawl explained to Guerin.

Walsh presented only a 13-page report detailing the interview of Clanton by a psychologist that explained she suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. The night of the incident, according to portions of the report read by Guerin, Clanton said she thought her fiancée was putting thoughts in her head about what to order at dinner and that others were watching her.

Clanton lost control of her emotions and was driven by "psychotic and irrational" thoughts as her motive, Guerin said, citing the report.

"Thank God there were no real serious injuries to this child," Walsh said in court.

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