Just setting a trial date for the Illinois mother who admitted to the 2013 murder of her son, Alex Spourdalakis, could take six to eight months, according to the woman’s lawyer.
Attorney Michael Botti will ask a circuit court judge for a continuance on November 24. “We’re still in the discovery phase, and it could be six to eight months before a trial date is even set,” he said.
Dorothy Spourdalakis, of River Grove, admitted to police that she and Alex’s godmother, Agatha Skrodzka, first drugged and then stabbed to death her 14-year-old son. The murder occurred June 8, 2013. Gotti said he hasn’t decided yet if the two women will be tried together. Skrodzka’s attorney is Cook County public defender Jennifer Gill.
Police said the two women attempted suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills, and passed out in Dorothy’s apartment. The scene was discovered hours later by Dorothy’s ex-husband, Minas, and his brother-in-law.
The two women explained in a letter found at the scene that they killed the boy because his emotional condition had deteriorated following a prolonged illness, according to prosecutors.
Botti said insanity is only one of the defense strategies he is exploring for his client. “Right now we’re seeking out experts,” he said.
Andrew Wakefield, the disgraced ex-physician whose fraudulent 1998 paper jump-started America’s anti-vaccine movement, was filming a documentary about Alex in the months leading up to the murder. Wakefield has been in speaking and fund-raising mode since he lost his medical license in 2010, appearing before anti-vaccine groups and opening up to conspiracy-minded talk show hosts. He has also praised parents who would rather kill their autistic child than leave them alone in the world. In May, 2010, he told this story to 40 people in Chicago’s Grant Park:
“About 15 years ago a mother from London approached me and said ‘Do not judge me too harshly Dr. Wakefield, but when I die I am taking my son with me. You see, I’m all he has. I’m the only one who loves him.’”
“I didn’t judge,” said Wakefield. “I was moved by the love that a mother must have for her child that she would take his life rather than have him fall upon a society that really didn’t give a damn.”
The mother had also attracted the attention of online anti-vaccine parents who push unproven, “alternative” medical treatments for autism.
Three months before the murder, Dorothy wrote this about Alex on an online anti-vaccine blog:
“We (autism parents) as a group have been deceived and lied to long enough. Our children have paid and are continuing to pay the ultimate price because of greed. The health care system has failed terribly. It is our responsibility to continue to bring about change.”
Botti says Dorothy Spourdalakis “tried everything she could do” for Alex, but that the boy “was failed” by every medical professional who looked at him. “They just wrote him off because he was autistic.”
One of those medical professionals was Arthur Krigsman, a pediatrician, gastroenterologist, and anti-vaccine personality who has worked in the past with Wakefield. Just three months prior to the murder, Wakefield and others drove Alex and his mother to see Krigsman in New York, where Dorothy and Alex stayed in a hotel for two weeks. Krigsman tested Alex for Lyme Disease, and claims he found numerous lesions in Alex’s gut, but that diagnosis has not been confirmed.