The murder trial of Cristian Loga-Negru for allegedly killing his wife with a hatchet in November 2014 is delayed pending the outcome of a mental health evaluation.
Online court records indicate the hearing Jan. 12 was triggered by a report from Glassman Neuropsychology Associates and that Loga-Negru changed his plea to not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.
Loga-Negru, 38, of Arlington Heights, IL, was charged in November 2014 with one felony count each of first degree intentional homicide, mayhem and kidnapping. If convicted of the homicide charge alone, the defendant faces life in prison.
According to his criminal complaint, Loga-Negru on Nov. 21 tracked Roxana Abrudan, 36, to her boss’ house in Mount Pleasant and attacked her with a hatchet in the yard when she returned from an errand. The couple was separated after Abrudan filed a police report and obtained a restraining order against the defendant. Abrudan had been staying in Mount Pleasant for about a month before the defendant found her.
Autopsy results show that Abrudan died of “multiple chop wounds and blunt force injuries.” In addition to several deep lacerations to her head, Abrudan suffered broken bones in her face and head, chop wounds to both hands and cuts and bruises on her legs.
Loga-Negru’s trial was scheduled to begin Feb. 1, but during a hearing last week before Racine County Circuit Court Judge Eugene Gasiorkiewicz, defense Attorneys Pat Cafferty and Mark Nielsen asked that their client undergo a special mental health evaluation usually reserved for not guilty pleas for reasons of mental disease.
The results of the evaluation will determine if Loga-Negru suffered from a mental condition at the time of the incident that prevented him from knowing what he allegedly did was wrong.
During hearings in December 2014, though, Loga-Negru – who has law degrees from both a Romanian school and one from John Marshall in Chicago – Gasiorkiewicz, and Dr. Robert Rawski, a psychiatrist who examined Loga-Negru, all believed the defendant to be competent.
“I have no challenge, judge,” Loga-Negru said at the time. “I believe I am competent to stand trial.”
He remains in the Racine County Jail without bond.