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Ill. Doctor Charged in Son’s Murder

March 2, 2002

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) _ A pediatrician stabbed her 10-year-old son to death and wounded his younger brother, then called police to tell them what she had done, police said Friday.

Dr. Ellen Feinberg, 43, was charged with murder and attempted murder. She appeared in court via video camera from a mental health facility, and a judge ordered her held without bail.

Feinberg called authorities Thursday afternoon and said ``she had killed her children and wanted to be killed by the police,″ according to prosecutor Elizabeth Dobson.

The mother told police where they would find her sons and said a knife was in the kitchen sink, Dobson said. Both boys had been stabbed in the chest, and Feinberg had blood on her hands, arms and clothes when police arrived, the prosecutor said.

The older boy, Adam, was pronounced dead at a hospital, and Matthew, 6, was in critical condition Friday.

At the arraignment, Feinberg’s attorney Carol Dison presented a report from a psychiatrist who said Feinberg was unfit to stand trial.

Dison described Feinberg as ``unresponsive and uncooperative,″ and said the doctor who met with her considered her ``acutely suicidal.″ She said she intended to raise insanity as a defense if the case goes to trial.

The attack took place in a well-to-do neighborhood of Champaign, about 130 miles south of Chicago. Neighbors said the boys’ father is a surgeon.

``They were normal, very nice, the last people you would ever think would have a tragedy like this,″ neighbor Alan Parker said. ``The kids do all the normal things kids do.″

Police said the mother and children were the only ones in the home at the time of the stabbings. Nobody answered the door at the home Friday.

State regulators did not have a record of a medical license for an Ellen M. Feinberg, but did have one for an Ellen M. Hochberg, at the same address.

That license was obtained in 1990 and changed to inactive, meaning its holder could not practice medicine, in 1999, according to a spokesman for the Department of Professional Regulation. There was no record of any disciplinary action.

Al Ryle, who lives next door, said the mother quit her practice to spend more time with the children. Earlier Thursday, he said, she had chaperoned a field trip with Adam’s class.

``When we found out what happened, it was absolutely devastating,″ he said. ``The brain is a very strange thing. I don’t know if ‘snapped’ is the right term, but I don’t think she consciously did this.″

At Barkstall Elementary, educators met Friday with parents of Adam’s classmates, assistant superintendent Arlene Blank said. The children piled cards and flowers on the boy’s empty desk.

``It’s hit his classmates quite hard,″ she said.

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