Chicago Mom Says Devil Told Her to Kill Children, Shrink Testifies

She said the devil made her do it—and this week, a forensic psychiatrist basically agreed.

In a testimony this week, Dr. Phillip Resnick said that Elzbieta Plackowska, on trial for killing two children and two dogs, "had a psychotic belief that devils had entered [the children], and that by taking their lives she was allowing the children to enter heaven."

Resnick added that Plackowska, who has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, could not fully understand her criminal actions when she stabbed her son, Justin, plus a playmate, Olivia Dworaski, and the dogs on October 30, 2012, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Resnick had examined Plackowska for the trial and testified that she claimed she saw a “black shadow” and believed the demon was entering the children. Then the shadow urged Plackowska to “kill them, kill them.”

The testimony from Resnick, a professor at Case Western University in Cleveland who has been involved with other demonic-possession cases such as Jeffrey Dahmer and Unabomber Ted Kacyznski, is counter to the prosecution case, which contends that Plackowska killed the children in a depression from a failed marriage.

In a video interview with police after the stabbings, Plackowska, now 45, confessed that marital and other life problems led to the crime. But Resnick and Plackowska believed she was browbeaten into a confession, the Tribune said.

The psychiatrist said Plackowska’s father’s death several weeks before triggered the killing of the two children and led her into psychosis. Resnick also said that several people noticed unusual mannerisms from Plackowska days before the homicide, giving her story credibility.

The insanity plea could help Plackowska avoid life in prison if she is found guilty, though judges can involuntarily hold insanity plea defendants even without a conviction. They can later petition for release, which would lead to a hearing.

It's certainly not the first time a suspect has cited the devil as a defense.

On September 20, a Texas couple could face child endangerment charges after they locked their 7-year-old son out of their house, claiming he was possessed by demons. A neighbor told the Texarkana Gazette that the mother, Rendy Jo Wright, and the stepfather, Ronald “Keith” Wright, told the son to “go away and never return again,” which led him to go to the neighbor’s home 10 minutes later.

In April 2016, a New York man admitted to murdering his girlfriend to her family because of “demonic possession” and “trust issues.” Luis Zambrano was sentenced to 26 and a half years in prison for the murder of Angie Escobar after splitting up in her car.

Join the Discussion