URBANA - Ellen Feinberg, who admitted stabbing one son to death and trying to murder her other son, was found by a judge Wednesday to be an unfit mother and in need of in-patient mental health treatment.
Judge Michael Jones last month found Feinberg, 44, innocent by reason of insanity in the fatal stabbing of Adam Feinberg, 11, and the attempted murder of Matthew Feinberg, 6, in their Cherry Hills home on Feb. 28.
On Wednesday, Jones ruled that Feinberg was an unfit mother based on the killing of a child, which is one of the criteria under Illinois law for such a finding. The judge said the facts in the case were undisputed and that ?she committed the acts that caused the death of Adam and caused serious injury to Matthew.?
Jones said he took into account the evidence and findings of the criminal case in which he entered the innocent by reason of insanity ruling on Dec. 3. Feinberg, who remained composed for most of Wednesday's hearing, sobbed softly at that point.
The judge ruled that Feinberg is in need of being locked up indefinitely for mental health treatment in a secure state facility. She was returned to the mental health center in Elgin, where she's been held most of the last year.
Jones agreed with the position argued by Assistant State's Attorney Elizabeth Dobson that the maximum time that she could be kept in mental health confinement is the maximum to which she could have faced if convicted, which is natural life.
?This, by no means, renders it written in stone that she will spend the rest of her life in treatment,? Jones said. ?If she does not progress in treatment, that's the maximum she can be held.?
Jack DeLaMar, the legal guardian representing Matthew, said that on the issue of parental rights and what is in Matthew's best interests, the boy gave him instructions to conclude the matter as quickly as possible. DeLaMar recently retired from the Champaign County judgeship he held for 23 years, many of those years presiding over abuse and neglect cases.
A hearing on what is in the best interests of the child regarding Ellen Feinberg's parental rights was set by Jones for Feb. 26 - just short of one year after the stabbings. Her rights could be terminated at that point.
Jones also ruled Wednesday that Matthew is an abused minor, referring to the stabbing by the mother, which caused impairment of the boy's physical or mental health.
Feinberg's attorney, Steven Beckett, said after the hearing that one of the most tragic aspects of the case is that she harmed her son.
?Deep in her heart, it hurts, but she has to accept the consequences,? Beckett said. ?She's lost her husband; she's lost her son; she's lost her community.?
Beckett objected to Feinberg's behavior being described by prosecutors as deliberately duping her psychiatrists.
Her hope, he said, is simply to get well through a process of in-patient treatment, out-patient treatment and eventually release from the state mental health facilities.
?That's going to take a long, long time,? Beckett said.
State's Attorney John Piland said after the hearing that the goal of prosecutors has been to see that Feinberg is not allowed to return to the community.
?We believe she poses a severe risk to the community,? Piland said.
Court records show Feinberg had long been treated for depression and had attempted suicide. Three psychiatrists agreed that she had major depression with psychotic features and that she was unable to appreciate the criminality of her actions in stabbing her sons.
Matthew Feinberg obtained a two-year order of protection against his mother, preventing any contact by her with him or his home, where he is living with his father, Dr. Samuel Feinberg. Samuel Feinberg declined to comment Wednesday.