Grandmother Alfreda Giedrocz stood impassively in a courtroom Monday, glancing from her Polish translator to the judge as prosecutors described how they believe the 61-year-old brutally murdered her infant grandchild with a sledgehammer and a carving knife.
Five-month-old Vivian Summers lay on the couch in the living room of her grandparents' tidy ranch house in southwest suburban Oak Lawn on Sunday morning.
The infant had been dropped off by her father, Giedrocz's son-in-law, who was helping Giedrocz's son work on his house across the street. Giedrocz's husband, Bill, went over to check on their progress, leaving Giedrocz alone with the child, Assistant State's Attorney Michael Deno said.
Then, Deno said, Giedrocz went to a closet and pulled out a sledgehammer she had placed there the night before.
"The defendant then hit the victim repeatedly in the head and body with the sledgehammer," Deno said. "Since the victim was still crying and moving, the defendant then went to the kitchen and retrieved a large carving knife.
"The defendant then picked the victim up, held her and then slit her throat with the knife."
Oak Lawn police were called shortly before 11 a.m. with a report of an "armed subject" inside the house. The child was pronounced dead shortly before 2 p.m. at Advocate Christ Medical Center. Giedrocz was ordered held without bond Monday on a charge of first-degree murder.
Deno and Oak Lawn police Chief Mike Murray declined to answer questions about whether Giedrocz had a history of mental illness or a motive.
"I have never seen anything like it," Murray said after the hearing in Bridgeview. Murray said officers who responded to the call have been offered counseling.
Neighbors said Vivian's parents, who live in Bolingbrook, had been thrilled at the birth of their daughter.
Giedrocz's attorney said she has lived in the U.S. since 1983 and is a naturalized citizen.
"Never in my life would I ever have believed this could happen," said Carrie Lynn Hennessy, who has lived next door to the Giedrocz family in Oak Lawn for 12 years.
"You have to just pray for the whole family."
Tribune reporter Geoff Ziezulewicz contributed.
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