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Prosecutors will seek max term if stepmom convicted of murder

DIXON – Lee County prosecutors will seek a sentence of life in prison for Tiffany Fassler if she is convicted in the death of her 7-year-old stepson, according to court documents filed Wednesday.

Fassler is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, punishable by 20 to 60 years in prison. Under state statute, however, prosecutors can seek an enhanced sentence for several reasons, including whether the death was “exceptionally brutal and heinous”.

In her motion, Lee County State’s Attorney Anna Sacco-Miller said Fassler’s conduct in Colton Fassler’s death was “exceptionally brutal and heinous.”

If that element is proved beyond a reasonable doubt, the state will seek a sentence of natural life in prison, Sacco-Miller wrote.

Fassler’s attorney, Paul Whitcombe of Dixon, declined to comment on the motion, saying he had not had a chance to read through it.

Fassler, 37, also is charged with four counts of aggravated battery to a child. She remains free on $200,000 bond, pending an April 3 court date. A trial date has not yet been set.

Defendants often are charged with multiple counts of the same crime, the legal elements of which vary enough to give the judge or jury options when considering a verdict.

In this case, one first-degree murder count accuses Fassler of intending to murder, the other with committing an act with the strong probability of causing a murder.

Prosecutors say Fassler kicked Colton in the chest on Dec. 30, 2010; he hit his head on a metal vanity and suffered serious brain damage. 

Fassler was indicted 7 months later on two counts of aggravated battery. Colton died Nov. 11, 2011, from his injuries, and in August, a Winnebago County coroner’s jury ruled his death a homicide.

On Sept. 20, Fassler was indicted on first-degree murder and four counts of aggravated battery to a child, which superseded the previous indictment. The second first-degree murder charge was added Feb. 8.

Lee County Associate Judge Jacquelyn Ackert also granted the prosecution’s request to take a DNA cheek swab from Fassler.

In Wednesday’s motion, Sacco-Miller said investigators found blood-like stains in the home after Colton was injured and the swab was needed to determine whether the blood belonged to Fassler.

Whitcombe did not object to the request.

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