Police testify on Judith Sobol’s erratic behavior in day two of murder trial

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. – The trial of Judith Sobol entered into its second day.

Sobol is accused of killing a medically fragile three-year-old girl in Coloma, Michigan on June 20, 2022.

Her parents came home in the early morning to find Sobol, who had been hired as an overnight nurse for their daughter, incoherent and the child’s breathing tube was removed.

Sobol has been charged with second degree murder.

Officers dispatched to the home on East Becht Road took the stand, and described Sobol as behaving erratically— talking or muttering under her breath, sometimes “coming to” as if she was not awake.

One officer, Watervliet Police officer Mordecai-Tobias Thornsbury, described her behavior as if she was quote “possessed,” and that she had “pinpoint” pupils, continuing to describe her as “crazed,” and that she seemed to not have full control of her body— and “flailed” around in the back seat of the squad car she was placed in— for nearly two hours.

According to Thornsbury’s testimony, Sobol admitted she believed she had killed the child.

Taylor Cook, with the Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office, asked Thornsbury “Was there anything that made your mind and believe that she was under the influence of meth?”

Thornsbury said “Right after I touched her, she popped up and turned towards me, and said ‘I killed the baby. I’m on meth. I haven’t slept in three days. Take me away.’”

Though when Sobol’s defense attorney Stephanie Teeple asked if Thornsbury’s audio recorder recorded the conversation, he replied that he did not have it on him at the time.

While on scene, police searched through Sobol’s purse, and found numerous insulin syringes and some plastic bottles containing bleach.

Berrien County lab technicians tested some of those syringes, which appeared to have been used and found traces of methamphetamine.

Officers also found glass meth pipes, as well as black, plastic box with a sticker on it that read “don’t do drugs—” the box had meth in it.

They also drew Sobol’s blood—Michigan State Police lab technicians found it tested positive for meth, as well as citalopram, commonly used as an antidepressant.

The drugs, when taken together, can affect a person’s behavior.

“Those symptoms can be mild, from anxiety, maybe twitching, diarrhea, sleeplessness,” said Mark Vandervurst, with MSP. “It goes to medium [symptoms], from tremors which may become serious, you can develop seizures, you can pass out, become confused, have an abnormal heart rate and high blood pressure, those type of things.”

The jury also heard testimony from one of the EMTs called out to treat the medically fragile three-year-old girl, who said that while they rushed her to Spectrum Lakeland Hospital in Watervliet—now Corewell Health—the damage from her breathing tube being removed may have already been done.

“By the time we got to the hospital we were flatlined,” said EMT Jacob Fielding. “Our oxygenation numbers were good, but all signs of life were going away by the time we were getting to the hospital.”

The prosecution still has several witnesses to call up this week, and jurors have been informed that the trial may not conclude until Friday, or possibly even next week.

Share this article: