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Mom to be evaluated for an insanity defense

WOODSTOCK – A Harvard woman accused of putting a knife down her infant son’s throat will be evaluated to determine whether an expert considers that she was legally insane at the time.

Claudia Mejia, 37, has been in custody for nearly a year, charged with one count each of attempted murder and aggravated battery of a child in connection with the incident Dec. 16.

Her son, Isaac, has recovered.

Insanity as a defense concerns whether the defendant was able to consider the criminality of his or her actions at the time of the offense.

Mental fitness to stand trial, however, is about whether a defendant is able to understand the legal proceedings and to assist in the defense.

Shortly after her arrest, Mejia was declared mentally unfit to stand trial and began receiving treatment at Elgin Mental Health Center. There, physicians said she was profoundly mentally ill – mute, immobile and in a catatonic state.

With psychotropic medication, she began to improve but continued to be depressed. She was diagnosed with severe postpartum depression and, while treatment options were being considered, suffered one of at least two seizures.

In September, she was found competent to stand trial and was returned to the McHenry County Jail.

Her attorney, Wes Pribla, has said that if the case does go to trial, he believes she would be found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Mejia’s husband, Osvaldo, has been supportive of his wife. He said she never would have harmed her child if she had been in the right state of mind.

Mejia’s next scheduled court date is Jan. 4.

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