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updated: 1/4/2011 6:09 PM

Man gets 3 years for Cubs-Sox fight at Huntley birthday party

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If the Chicago Cubs win the World Series this year, Boguslaw "Bob" Czapla will be watching from prison.

A judge Tuesday sentenced the 39-year-old Elmwood Park man to three years in prison for his role in a brawl at a toddler's birthday party in Huntley that started with Cubs vs. White Sox needling and escalated to a man losing his right eye.

Czapla was convicted of aggravated assault and mob action in November for his role in a July 19, 2008, fight.

Robert Steele, formerly of Gurnee who now lives in Wisconsin, was kicked by Czapla's metal-tipped boot in the eye as he was lying on the ground.

Steele had never met Boguslaw Czapla before, but Steele's wife's sister was married to Jaroslaw "Jerry" Czapla, who was the host for his 2-year-old's party.

"Justice prevailed. I am satisfied that he's going to prison," Steele said after the sentence. "He doesn't know what my life has been the past three, 2 years going through this."

Steele told McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather how he has suffered financially and emotionally since the fight.

Steele said that because of his prosthetic eye, he can no longer drive large trucks for a living, he lost his home and now his family, which includes four kids, lives in a two-bedroom apartment.

"Now that I only have one eye, I can't find steady work," said Steele, who later became tearful. "I sometimes bump into things. Crowds are the worst."

Defense attorney Jim McAuliff noted that Czapla did not have a long criminal history and asked for probation or a minimal sentence.

Czapla did not testify or apologize, but his estranged wife, former girlfriend and mother testified that a prison term would prevent Czapla from providing for his eighth-grade son and 4-year-old daughter and caring for his parents.

"Bob has a good heart and is a kind and compassionate person," said his estranged wife, Ewa Czapla.

McHenry County Assistant State's Attorney Ryan Blackney argued for the maximum five-year sentence, saying the court must look at the severity of Steele's injuries.

"Robert Steele is missing an eye. And that can never, ever be fixed," Blackney said.

Prather agreed, calling Czapla's actions "senseless and brutal." Czapla's bond was revoked and he was taken into custody while his mother wept. He could be released from prison in about 18 months for good behavior.

Jaroslaw Czapla pleaded guilty in 2009 to mob action and was sentenced to six months in the county jail. His homeowner's insurance also paid Steele a $100,000 settlement. A civil suit against Boguslaw Czapla is pending.

A third man, Maciej "Mike" Trojnar of Elmwood Park, also was charged but is still on the loose.

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