Tonya is the Chicago mother who stabbed her two children to death in April of 2005. Nine year old Christian and his three year old sister Grace were stabbed “more than 200 times each.” (Incidentally, not that it really matters I suppose, but according to the autopsies, she actually stabbed them more than 550 times total — so, closer to 300 times each.) They had been stabbed so many times that responding police and emergency personnel could not even administer CPR because air was escaping through their wounds.Tonya’s been sitting in the nuthouse ever since, because each of the six times she’s been brought before the judge her public defender has produced psychiatric testimony saying she’s unfit for trial. Despite more than a year of treatment at the Elgin Mental Health Center, which included shock therapy and intense use of psychotropic medications, Dr. Phillip Resnick says she’s still mentally unfit to stand trial. (He’s the same guy who examined Susan Smith and Andrea Yates.)
On Friday, a discharge hearing similar to an abbreviated trial was held in front of a Judge. The Judge is expected to render a verdict (either guilty but mentally ill or not guilty by reason of insanity) after the conclusion of the testimony on April 27. Either determination will mean Tonya gets to spend “substantial” time — perhaps the rest of her life — in a state mental institution. If she’s found guilty but mentally ill, there is a chance that down the road, should she be found to no longer be mentally ill, the prosecutor could revisit charges against her at that time.
According to Resnick, Tonya kept telling her kids that she loved them and was protecting them as she stabbed them to death. He said she was suffering from “schizoaffective” disorder, with symptoms including paranoia and depression. In the month leading up to the slayings, Vasilev believed that her mother and husband had been replaced by imposters.
Vasilev’s actions were part of an elaborate paranoid delusion she still lives under, said Dr. Phillip Resnick, who has examined high-profile child killers Marilyn Lemak, Susan Smith and Andrea Yates.Vasilev believes an acquaintance planned to kidnap her children, enlist them in a child pornography ring, abuse them and turn them against God, Resnick said. She believed her house and phone were tapped and that a silver car she saw repeatedly on her street carried the kidnapper.
The acquaintance did have a criminal past – a welfare fraud conviction in Hawaii, Resnick said. That black mark on his record was enough to fuel her belief that her children were in imminent danger and the only way she could protect them from Hell was to send them to heaven. She’s asked for the death penalty, he said, because she wants to be there, too.
“She was protecting them from what she saw as a fate worse than death,” Resnick said, later adding, “She felt she would face her maker with a pure heart.”
She did it, she admits she did it, she was caught with the bloody knife in her hands, and she wants to be put to death. I don’t see why they can’t just go ahead and give her what she wants.
Mother was delusional, court told – Chicago Tribune | Daily Herald News | Tonya Vasilev archives on The Original Musings.Â |Â Kate blogs at The Original Musings.