Mother pleads guilty by reason of insanity to murdering son

Heidi Rutchey walks into 1st District Court, where she was ordered to have a mental competency evaluation, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, in Logan, Utah. Rutchey is charged with killing her two-year-old son. 

LOGAN — A River Height’s mother, Heidi M. Rutchey, has pleaded guilty but mentally ill to killing her infant son in 2013. The 46-year-old woman will now wait in the Cache County Jail until she is sentenced next month.

Rutchey appeared in 1st District Court Monday afternoon, after Judge Thomas Willmore said he would give attorneys one more week to work out a possible resolution to the case. As part of the plea deal, Rutchey pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of child abuse homicide, a second-degree felony. Prosecutors also agreed to give her credit for the time she has already served.

Rutchey had previously pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to murder. A doctor’s evaluation though later determined she was not substantially incompetent at the time of the crime. A second doctor found she suffered from delusions from an untreated bipolar disorder.

State attorney Aaron Josie told the court how Rutchey was being medicated for mental health issues in September 2013. Cache County Sheriff’s deputies report she stopped taking her prescriptions and went into a delusional state of mind. During that time, she suffocated her two-year-old son Eli.

Rutchey checked herself into the hospital several days later. While there, questions arose concerning Eli’s safety. Medical staff called police dispatch and requested a welfare check for the child at a River Heights apartment near 400 South 400 East.

Eli was found dead in his home by deputies, September 4.

In November 2016, Rutchey was found competent to stand trial after being treated at the Utah State Hospital for three-years.

During Monday’s hearing, Judge Willmore scheduled sentencing for August 14. Rutchey could face up to 15-years in prison. Defense attorney David Perry told the court he intends to argue that she serve her sentence at the State Hospital.

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