News Article Details

Mention of mental health evaluation, treatment removed from Pasztor sentence

The Truth - 8/19/2017

Aug. 19--GOSHEN -- The judge who sentenced Amber Pasztor to 130 years in prison for murder of her two children last year has modified his order at the request of the state attorney general.

Circuit Court Judge Michael Christofeno filed an amended order meant to "clearly reflect the intention of the court" in his June 29 sentencing of Pasztor. He had sentenced the 30-year-old Fort Wayne woman to two 65-year prison terms after she pleaded guilty to killing her 7-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son in September 2016.

Pasztor pleaded guilty but mentally ill after undergoing three mental health exams to determine if she was in the right state of mind to knowingly admit to the murders. The judge observed at the time of sentencing that she suffers from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and in his original sentencing order directed the State Mental Hospital to determine if she is in a position to be incarcerated before her term begins and that she receive mental health treatment, if needed, before going to prison.

The Indiana Department of Corrections and the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration Division of Mental Health and Addiction both challenged Christofeno's authority to craft such a sentence. In a July 27 motion to correct error filed on behalf of the two agencies, Attorney General Curtis Hill argues that the order represented an involuntary mental health commitment and fails to give due deference to the agencies under state law and the principle of separation of powers.

Christofeno's amended sentencing order removes any mention of a mental health determination or treatment before Pasztor begins her sentence. Following that filing, Hill withdrew the motion to correct error and a hearing on the motion set for Thursday was canceled.

Pasztor is currently in the Allen County Jail awaiting trial on charges that she murdered neighbor Frank Macomber, 66, the day before she killed her children.

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(c)2017 The Elkhart Truth (Elkhart, Ind).

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