Mother charged in missing baby case found not guilty by reason of insanity
BLOOMINGTON (25 News Now) - A Bloomington woman charged with concealment of her baby’s death has been found not guilty by reason of insanity because of her mental illness.
While she’s acquitted of the charges, it could be years before Kimberlee Burton goes free. Her infant child Zaraz Walker has never been found and is presumed dead.
Burton, 29, was arrested last February on Class 4 felony charges but there’s no evidence she killed the baby, who was seven-months old at the time.
Burton appeared Thursday for what’s called a stipulated bench trial in which prosecutors and Burton’s public defender agreed to the facts and the case’s outcome.
McLean County Judge Casey Costigan accepted the findings of the lawyers, and acquitted Burton by reason of insanity. Two psychiatrists determined Burton suffered from schizophrenic spectrum illness, and one of them said Burton also had post-traumatic stress disorder.
Under Illinois law, a person can be found not guilty by reason of insanity if he or she “lacks substantial capacity to appreciate the criminality” of their conduct.
The judge ordered the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) to take custody of Burton and make treatment recommendations to the court.
The in-patient care by DHS can last for up to six years, the same amount of time Burton might have faced in a state prison had she been found guilty of the concealment charges.
Another court hearing in Burton’s case is scheduled for late December.
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