Mom, Accused Of Stabbing Daughter, Now 'Fit' For Trial
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
June 14, 2006
ST. CHARLES, ILLINOIS-- A Kane County judge has ruled that Betty C. Whitten is "mentally fit" to stand trial for allegedly stabbing her adult daughter to death and driving off a bridge with the body inside the car.
According to several local news sources, Judge Philip DiMarzio said on June 3 that Whitten, 58, understands the court proceedings and is able to aid in her own defense.
The judge had ordered a psychiatric evaluation for Whitten in mid-April, one week after she was charged with first-degree murder in the April 3 death of 34-year-old Nyakiambi Whitten, who had an intellectual disability and cerebral palsy, and used a wheelchair.
Authorities believe that Mrs. Whitten -- whom family members described as "overly protective" -- used a butcher knife to fatally stab her daughter three times in the chest, then loaded the body into the family's car, and drove the car off of a nearby bridge.
Whitten reportedly has been diagnosed as having a major depression disorder with psychotic features. Her attorney told the court that his client's condition improved in the past few weeks because of the medication and therapy she received at the mental health facility. He warned that her mental stability would likely deteriorate if she were sent back to jail.
DiMarzio ordered her back to the Kane County jail, where her bail has been set at $2 million. A hearing over whether her bail should be reduced has been scheduled for later this month.
"Betty Whitten is fit to stand trial" (Beacon News)
"Real tragedy was assumption that disability led to slaying" by Deborah Kendrick (Columbus Dispatch)