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Fassler pleads not guilty

Defendant crying outside courtroom

Tiffany D. Fassler
Tiffany D. Fassler

DIXON – Tiffany D. Fassler, accused of causing the death of her 7-year-old stepson, pleaded not guilty Wednesday.

Fassler, 36, of Dixon, faces charges of first-degree murder and four counts of child battery. 

During a hearing Wednesday, Fassler, wearing a black skirt, red blouse and high heels, stood in front of Judge Jacqueline Ackert.

Two people in the gallery wore T-shirts in support of Colton Fassler. On front of his grandmother Karen Digby’s shirt was a photo of Colton wearing a Superman costume.

A good family friend, Jane Lance, wore a slightly different shirt, reading, “I support Superman,” referring to the boy.

After the hearing, Fassler sobbed and hugged tightly a supporter just outside the courtroom.

Prosecutors say Fassler kicked Colton in the chest on Dec. 30, 2010, causing him to hit his head on a metal vanity and resulting in serious brain damage.

Seven months later, she was indicted on two counts of aggravated battery.

Colton died Nov. 11 from his injuries. In August, a Winnebago County coroner’s jury ruled the boy’s death a homicide. Prosecutors added the murder charge on Sept. 13, then took the matter to a grand jury, which issued a five-count indictment Sept. 20.

Fassler is free after posting $20,000 of a $200,000 bond.

During Wednesday’s hearing, her attorney, Paul Whitcombe, said the information in some of the counts are charging with the same facts. He said prosecutors can only “get one bite at the apple.” Because of that, he said, the court should dismiss some of the counts.

The prosecution also has sought two substitutions for judges. Ackert said she didn’t think that was possible under the law.

State’s Attorney Henry Dixon asked the court to set a hearing to deal with such issues.

The judge agreed, scheduling a hearing for 2:30 p.m. Oct. 25.

If convicted, Fassler faces 20 to 60 years in prison on the murder charge.

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