A 61-year-old Mokena woman pleaded guilty Thursday to the stabbing death of her 89-year-old mother. She faces four to 20 years in prison for stabbing her mother in the chest multiple times.
Gaye Wern pleaded guilty to second degree murder in the Feb. 15, 2010 stabbing death of her 89-year-old mother, Tresa McCauley, in her condominium in the 19500 block of 116th Avenue in Mokena.
Wern, who suffers from mental illness and depression, had been living with her mother in the condominium for seven months when the murder occurred. She was taking care of her mother who had suffered a broken leg in July 2009. The stabbing occurred in the morning, while Wern was bathing her mother in the tub before a scheduled physical therapy appointment later that day.
About 2 p.m. Wern walked into the Mokena police station and confessed to the front desk clerk that she had just killed her mother. Police found the body in the tub with multiple stab wounds. A bloody knife was found on the ledge, said Defense Attorney Frank Cservenyak.
Wiping tears from her eyes, Wern told Will County Circuit Judge Robert Livas, "I would just like to say I'm so sorry about the whole thing and what I caused the whole family."
The initial charge of first degree murder was reduced to second degree murder in light of Wern's history of mental illness.
Cservenyak said Wern and her mother had a loving relationship. After her mother first broke her leg, Wern stayed in the hospital with her, "sleeping there, for about seven weeks."
The months of care giving had taken a toll, he said. Wern hadn't been sleeping. Her mental illness in combination with fatigue was a factor in the case. On the morning of the murder, the victim criticized Wern for the care she was providing.
In the 3 1/2 years since Wern has been out on bond, "she hasn't done anything wrong," said Cserenyak. She has been evaluated by doctors and prescribed anti-depressants.
Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 30. Before being taken into custody, her ex-husband, Michael Wern of Alsip, handed over a clear plastic bag full of prescription medications.
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