It is jarring to hear of any parent who would harm their child. Jody Kossow committed a particularly horrific act when she stabbed her young son over 50 times, then told a 9-1-1 dispatcher she did it because of Satan. Despite the sheer brutality of the crime—two of the stab wounds pierced the child’s spine and seven slashed his throat—Kossow has just been found not guilty by reason of insanity, and will now be sent to a mental heath facility where she will receive treatment.
Kossow’s Rockford, Illinois house was reasonably quiet on the night of September 10, 2013. Her husband at the time, Michael, and the couple’s daughter, age 12, were fast asleep. Her 8-year-old son Thomas, who appears in photographs as a bespectacled redhead with an adorable grin, was having trouble falling asleep. He asked his mother if they might go out to gaze at the stars. It should have been a peaceful moment between mother and child, but for some unfathomable reason, Kossow retrieved a paring knife from the kitchen and stabbed the boy over and over again. When he was dead, she phoned 9-1-1.
“I just killed my son,” she told the dispatcher. “Satan was coming after me.”
When police arrived, Thomas lay dead in the driveway and Kossow was smashing her head repeatedly against the pavement.
It is unclear what led to Kossow’s delusion of Satan. The Midwestern mother was, according to her family, a Wiccan who was infatuated with witchcraft, yet most pagans don’t murder their children.
Both the prosecution and defense had Kossow undergo a mental health assessment, and both evaluations reached the same conclusion: she was criminally insane during the time in which she killed Thomas. Yet there was some argument as to whether she was capable of knowing what she was doing was wrong as she was doing it. That distinction was left up to a judge, who has since decided that she did not. Thus, she will receive her treatment in a hospital, not in prison.
Image: Winnebago County Jail