Woman Is Guilty in O.C. Razor Blade Case

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Times Staff Writer

Lori Elizabeth Fischer, the Mission Viejo woman charged with planting razor blades and nails at south Orange County playgrounds, pleaded guilty Wednesday to multiple counts of attempted child abuse and assault with a deadly weapon.

Fischer’s lawyer said her client entered the plea to the 18 felony counts because Fischer “wants to admit responsibility for her actions” and seek treatment for an unspecified mental illness.

Fischer could be sentenced to up to 11 years in prison April 14, but Orange County Deputy Public Defender Lisa Kopelman said she hoped her client would be given probation so she could seek treatment outside jail. “Her actions were a product of her mental illness,” Kopelman said outside the courtroom. “Staying in jail would be very catastrophic to her mental health. She’s extremely remorseful.”


The prosecutor in the case strongly opposes probation for Fischer, saying she poses a risk to society. The incidents spooked parents and children for months in the southern portion of the county.

Fischer is being held on $500,000 bond.

“Community safety is a great concern,” said Deputy Dist. Atty. Karen Schatzle. “Her actions clearly dictate a state prison commitment.”

Fisher wore a blue prison jumpsuit and a ponytail during Wednesday’s hearing. She stood behind a glass partition as her parents watched from the courtroom gallery.

When Orange County Superior Court Judge Robert R. Fitzgerald asked if she understood the charges and consequences of her plea, Fischer said yes in a barely audible voice.

Fischer, who is being held in an individual cell at the Central Women’s Jail in Santa Ana, has been examined by psychiatric experts, Kopelman said. “While she’s been in jail she’s received medication and treatment,” Kopelman said.

“She has a mental illness. I’m not prepared to give you what the diagnosis is because it’s much too private.”


Authorities accused Fischer of burying nearly 200 nails and razor blades at parks in Foothill Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel and Mission Viejo from April until June, when she was arrested.

The incidents led to Orange County sheriff’s deputies sweeping playground sandboxes with metal detectors. Deputies also began staking out regional parks at night.

Fischer was arrested at Vista del Lago Park in Mission Viejo after police spotted her leaving the park after a brief nighttime visit. Police, who had combed the park two hours earlier, found nails near the playground equipment after she left.

Authorities alleged that before many of the incidents, Fischer called police from pay phones to warn them of cities about to be targeted.

She allegedly kept newspaper clippings of the discoveries and filled a thick journal with musings and poems about the razor-blade incidents.

Police reportedly found a diary that appeared to have chronicled her alleged crimes.