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Article updated: 2/18/2010 10:59 PM

Attorney: Algonquin boy who killed father was abused

By Josh Stockinger

An Algonquin boy charged with murdering his father has a "history of psychiatric issues" and may have been responding to years of abuse, his attorney said Thursday.

"I'm not going to say it's a self-defense case yet, but certainly the history of abuse and aggression of the father fed into this," defense attorney Brian F. Telander said. "It looks like a combination of things."

Sixteen-year-old David W. Szalonek is charged as an adult in the death of his father, Brian Szalonek, who died of a shotgun blast to the head Feb. 8 in their home on the 1400 block of Westbourne Parkway.

The teen appeared reserved in court Thursday, fidgeting with his fingers and looking down, his hands handcuffed and a jean jacket slung over his shoulders. Judge Thomas E. Mueller granted Telander's request for a private doctor who has been working with Szalonek to continue treating him while in custody.

Telander said Szalonek has Asperger syndrome, a form of autism, and spent six weeks at a hospital receiving treatment for mental health issues within the last year. He said his client had been experiencing suicidal thoughts but never acted out with violence.

"I met with him for two hours last night, and I have some concerns about his ability to defend himself," Telander said. "My immediate concern is, does he understand the nature of the charges and can he cooperate with me?"

Police said the boy confessed to killing his father a short time after the slaying, which happened around 7:45 p.m. after an argument.

Court records indicate there had been turmoil in the family for years, with the teen's mother seeking orders of protection against his father twice, claiming emotional and physical abuse.

Szalonek, who is being held on $2.5 million bond, returns to court March 18.

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