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Sentencing rescheduled for stepmom guilty in child’s death

Lawyer says Sept. 11 date will give Fassler time to recover from surgery

DIXON – The woman who kicked her 7-year-old stepson into a bathroom vanity, causing head injuries that caused brain damage and ultimately death, on Tuesday afternoon was given 1 more month of freedom before her sentencing.

Tiffany D. Fassler, 42, pleaded guilty May 25 to one count of aggravated battery of a child.

As part of her plea agreement, two counts of first-degree murder and three other counts of aggravated battery of a child were dismissed, and a sentencing date was set more than 2 1/2 months later, to give Fassler time to schedule and recover from surgery.

Tuesday, she testified that the earliest she could get that surgery was Aug. 21 – 4 days after she was to be sentenced – because her doctor took most of June off for vacation, and that was the soonest the doctor could get her in. She then needs 2 to 3 weeks to recover, Fassler said.

State’s Attorney Matt Klahn objected to Fassler’s motion to continue, noting that both sides had agreed on the Aug. 17 sentencing date, and that she could be furloughed from the Illinois Department of Corrections to obtain the procedure.

Her attorney, Paul Whitcombe, argued that his client, who is enduring an extremely painful medical condition, could not meet the deadline “through no fault of her own,” and a sentencing delay of a few weeks hurt no one.

In addition, treatment through IDOC would come at a higher cost, he said.

Noting that the original agreement with the state was that Fassler be given time for the surgery, Judge Jacquelyn Ackert granted the motion, however, and set sentencing for Sept. 11, which will be nearly 8 years after Dec. 30, 2010, the day Colton Fassler was injured. He died 11 months later.

“We’ve all been at the mercy of our doctors,” Ackert said, reminding the attorneys that she expressed concern when they chose the “arbitrary” date of Aug. 17, before the surgery was even scheduled.

Klahn is recommending a 13-year prison sentence with a requirement that Fassler serve at least 85 percent, a little more than 11 years, and that, upon her release, she be required to register as a violent offender against youth for the rest of her life.

Fassler, who was indicted Feb. 8, 2013, faced 20 to 60 years in prison, with no possibility of time off for good behavior, had she been found guilty of murder.

She has been free on $200,000 bond since Sept. 14, 2012.

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