A west suburban woman has been sentenced to 22 years in prison after pleading guilty but mentally ill to killing her husband with a sedative-laced smoothie last year in their Geneva home.
Julia L. Gutierrez, 54, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder Thursday in exchange for a 22-year prison sentence, according to the Kane County state’s attorney’s office. Judge Donald Tegeler, Jr. accepted the plea.
“Mrs. Gutierrez intentionally killed her husband,” Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said in a statement. “This plea and sentence will hold her accountable. However, this case highlights challenges our community often faces given the limited resources available to address mental health concerns.”
Sometime between Jan. 26 and Jan. 28, 2016, Gutierrez mixed a lethal amount of the sedative Temazepam into a smoothie and gave it to her husband, 53-year-old Eduardo Gutierrez, prosecutors said.
Eduardo Gutierrez, unaware of the drug, drank it and died.
After poisoning her husband, Julia Gutierrez sent a package to friends in Rock City, Illinois, that contained $40,000 in cash and a $5,000 check, along with a letter explaining how she believed Eduardo had suffered for many years because of her, prosecutors said.
The friends called Geneva police to make a well-being check at the Gutierrez home in the first block of Crissey Avenue in Geneva.
They found Eduardo Gutierrez dead on the floor, and Julia Gutierrez upstairs on the bathroom floor in a fetal position, semiconscious, prosecutors said. She had attempted to commit suicide by consuming an excessive amount of the same sedative she gave Eduardo.
Julia Gutierrez left a note on the dining room table saying in part, “I love him so much, please forgive me, God understands,” prosecutors said. It concluded with, “Hope to see you in heaven.”
Paramedics took Julia Gutierrez to a hospital, where she was treated before being transferred to the Kane County jail.
Julia Gutierrez told police she had been suffering for at least 14 years from an environmental illness, and that her husband had been suffering more than her because of it, prosecutors said. When Eduardo Gutierrez came home for lunch, she secretly put six Temezepam pills into his smoothie to “end his suffering.”
A psychologist conducted a court-ordered evaluation and determined Julia Gutierrez suffered from somatic symptom disorder and depression, prosecutors said. She may be sent to an appropriate treatment facility by the Illinois Dept. of Corrections, and when her treatment is complete, she would return to prison.
She will receive credit for 457 days served in the Kane County jail, where she has been held without bail since her arrest, prosecutors said.