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updated: 10/15/2013 8:32 PM

66 years for Carpentersville child rape, hammer attack, dog stabbing

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  • Daniel J. Happ

    Daniel J. Happ


On March 7, 2012, Daniel Happ bludgeoned a female acquaintance with a hammer in a Carpentersville townhouse with such violent force that it splattered blood on the bedroom blinds, the floor, shirts in the closet and a framed photo of the woman's boyfriend's 8-year-old daughter.

Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Greg Sams showed a judge the frame of the smiling blonde girl, who was later raped by Happ as the woman lay unconscious and bleeding.

"The perfect exhibit of the defendant's cruel, cruel crime," Sams said. "The blood of his attempted murder victim on the picture of his predatory criminal sexual assault victim."

Happ, 29, of Carpentersville, faced up to 93 years in prison after pleading guilty, but mentally ill, to attempted murder, predatory criminal sexual assault and aggravated cruelty to animals for stabbing the family's dog in the neck.

Judge Clint Hull imposed a sentence of 66 years, 65 of which must be served at 85 percent, for a total of nearly 56 years behind bars.

Happ, who has been jailed since the attack, entered a "cold plea" earlier this year. A cold plea leaves it up to a judge to decide a sentence instead of agreeing on one with prosecutors beforehand.

Happ was an acquaintance of the woman, now 24, who was living with her boyfriend and his four children in a rented townhouse on the 1200 block of Brookdale Drive.

On March 6, the woman, whom the Daily Herald is not identifying because she may have been the victim of a sexual assault by Happ, got a text from her boyfriend's mom asking if Happ could spend the night on the couch. Happ was fighting with his girlfriend at the time.

The woman testified that she put the four kids to bed at about 9 that night; her boyfriend, a commercial lighting contractor, was out of town on a job outside Indianapolis.

The woman said she went to bed at 10 p.m. and woke up a week later in the hospital.

She had cuts on her face and head, a concussion, a fractured skull and shattered facial bones. She was hospitalized and needed inpatient physical therapy. She still walks with a limp, has problems pronouncing words and has memory lapses.

"It's a train wreck," she said of how the attack has affected her emotionally. "What he did to (the girl), that's what upsets me the most."

After beating the woman, Happ woke up the 8-year-old, who was the oldest of four kids, prosecutors said. Happ showed the girl the woman's bloodied body and said if the girl screamed during the sexual assault, her siblings would suffer the same fate as the woman.

"It tore her apart and it continues to do so," the girl's father testified. "She does not feel safe unless myself or a select number of people are around. ... It's significant damage to my entire life, my four children. I still struggle with it on a daily basis. It's the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about before I go to sleep. That's just the way it is."

Assistant Public Defender Eun Yoon asked Hull for leniency, noting Happ's long history of mental illness and that he called 9-1-1 to report what he did, coming out with his hands up when police arrived.

"He said he needed to be arrested because he did something wrong. He woke up and there was blood everywhere," testified Carpentersville police officer Jason Caudle, the first officer at the scene.

Yoon said Happ later confessed and pleaded guilty. Yoon said Happ sought help the day before the attack because his suicidal thoughts had turned into homicidal ideations, but he was ultimately sent home.

Yoon said Happ was not on his medication, was drinking alcohol, blacked out, and saw and heard demons that night.

Happ apologized to the victims and pledged to seek help.

"There is no excuse for my actions. I don't expect you to forgive me, but to have mercy," he said. "I know I have to live with the consequences for the rest of my life."

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