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The County of DuPage
Wheaton, Illinois

Press Release

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Appellate Court Affirms Double Homicide Conviction

DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin announced that the Second District Appellate Court of Illinois has affirmed the conviction of Elzbieta Plackowska, 48, formerly of Naperville. Plackowska was found guilty of stabbing to death her seven-year-old son Justin and a five-year-old girl she was babysitting, Olivia Dworakowski, also of Naperville, in 2012. On December 15, 2017, after a finding of guilty following a two and one-half-week-long bench trial in September, Judge Robert Miller sentenced Plackowska to natural life in prison. Additionally, Plackowska was found guilty of stabbing to death two family dogs. The Appellate Court affirmed the conviction on August 3, 2020.

Following the trial, the Court found that the State had proved that on October 30, 2012, Plackowska told the children to get ready for bed. Instead of getting ready for bed however, the children began jumping on the bed in the master bedroom. After arming herself with a kitchen knife, Plackowska went to the master bedroom and began stabbing her son repeatedly about his entire body. She then stabbed Olivia repeatedly throughout her body as well and killed the two family dogs. Plackowska then drove to a family friend’s home. At trial, Plackowska, did not dispute the fact that she murdered the children, rather she asserted the affirmative defense of insanity.

In her appeal, Plackowska claimed that the trial court’s determination that she possessed the capacity to appreciate the criminality of her conduct at the time of the murders was incorrect. The Appellate Court rejected Plackowska’s claims however, noting that after the murders, Plackowska made substantial efforts to avoid detection including putting the knife down the garbage disposal, discarding her cell phone, making up a story about an intruder as well as changing her story several times after the murders. In their opinion the Appellate Court concluded that “there was sufficient evidence in the record to support the trial court’s ultimate determination” and “we cannot say that the opposite conclusion – that the defendant was insane at the time of the offenses – was clearly evident.”  

“I would like to thank the Appellate Court for their thorough analysis of the State’s case against Elzbieta Plackowska and her unfounded claim of insanity as an attempt to avoid spending the rest of her life behind bars,” Berlin said. “The murder of these two innocent children shook the entire community to its core, the reverberations of which can still be felt today. The Appellate Court’s decision confirms that there never was, nor should there ever be, any doubt whatsoever that Elzbieta Plackowska knew exactly what she was doing when she brutally murdered Justin and Olivia.”

Justice Schostok delivered the judgment of the Court with Justices Zenoff and Hudson concurring.

Plackowska’s appeal was defended by Mary Fleming of the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Criminal Appeals Division.