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Attorney: Marilyn Lemak Is Upset That Trib Quoted Interview

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Marilyn Lemak

Marilyn Lemak suffocated her three children in Naperville in 1999. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The attorney for Marilyn Lemak believes the convicted child murderer is upset about a story and interview that ran in the Chicago Tribune last Sunday.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, Lemak is serving a life prison sentence for smothering and killing her three children – Nicholas, 7; Emily, 7; and Thomas, 3 – in her Naperville family home in March 1999.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports

Lemak has refused almost all requests for interviews, but recently granted one to French filmmakers who were working on a documentary about women and mental illness.

The Chicago Tribune ran a story this past Sunday that carried excerpts from the interview, and their Web site includes a video clip from the documentary, which aired Sunday on the French channel M6.

In the excerpts, Lemak calls herself “a good mother who got very seriously mentally ill and did a terrible, tragic thing. And I think that was the depression,” according to the Tribune story by Stacy St. Clair.

Now, Lemak’s attorney, Jack Donahue, tells WBBM Newsradio he was stunned to see the Tribune story. He said Lemak granted the interview on the understanding that it would be shown only in Europe.

“The French documentary people convinced her that there’s a different concept in Europe regarding mental illness,” Donahue said.

Donahue says Lemak realizes there is not much sympathy for her.

“One of the major problems that we had in the case is trying to convince the common person that depression actually rises to the level of insanity,” Donahue said.

Lemak drugged and suffocated her children in their beds.

DuPage County State’s Attorney Joe Birkett tried the capital murder case personally, and he recalled Lemak thought her estranged husband had betrayed her, and killed her own children as revenge.

“There are certain cases that are with you forever,” Birkett told CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov in 2009. “This is one that’s going to be with me forever.”

Lemak suffered from depression, but a jury found her guilty and sent her to life in prison.

Donahue plans to talk later this week about more offers that have come in, including one from Dr. Phil.

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