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updated: 9/3/2014 5:43 AM

Family frustrated by trial delays in Naperville man's death

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  • Shaun Wild's parents, Jami, being hugged at left, and Bruce Wild, center, attended a community gathering at Naperville's North Central College the night after Shaun's death.

       Shaun Wild's parents, Jami, being hugged at left, and Bruce Wild, center, attended a community gathering at Naperville's North Central College the night after Shaun's death.
    JUSTIN KMITCH | Staff Photographer

  • Shaun Wild

      Shaun Wild

 
 

The parents of a Naperville teacher stabbed to death in February 2012 say they are growing more frustrated with each passing day their son's accused killer is not brought to justice.

Shaun Wild was a 24-year-old North Central College graduate and Spring Brook Elementary School teacher when he was killed in the early morning hours of Feb. 4, 2012, in a downtown Naperville bar.

Daniel Olaska, 30, also of Naperville, is accused of stabbing Wild in the heart with a pocket knife after stabbing Wild's friend, Willie Hayes, during a confrontation at Frankie's Blue Room on Chicago Avenue.

Wild's parents, Bruce and Jami Wild, of Brown Deer, Wisconsin, say they're frustrated Olaska still has not been brought to trial. They became even more angry last week when they learned Olaska's trial likely will be pushed back until early 2015 -- almost three years after their son's death.

"It's hard. Every day for the past couple years family members or friends will text us or call to check on us. And they all ask 'How are you doing? What's going on?'" Bruce Wild said. "And we have nothing to tell them."

Officials said the case was nearing a trial in April when Olaska's former defense attorney, Brian Telander, was appointed to a circuit judge seat.

Attorney Ernie DiBenedetto, who took over the case from Telander, recently told Judge Kathryn Creswell he will not be prepared to go to trial until at least January. DiBenedetto did not return a call Tuesday seeking comment.

"I know that was an unusual circumstance, but how long do we have to wait?" Bruce Wild asked Tuesday. "It's so hard to watch the defense drive the bus on this case. You know, a lot of Shaun's friends and family members have put their lives on hold, too."

Jami Wild, a tax accountant, said the family has "begged" prosecutors to wrap up the case by the end of this year.

"Not only are January and February the busiest times for me, professionally, but I'll also be mourning the third year of my son's murder at that time," she said. "This has all just been so devastating."

DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said he share's the family's frustration with the delays, but promised his team will be ready to go whenever the trial commences.

"Unfortunately, on the more serious cases, this delay is not unusual. If the defense is asking for more time for preparation, judges are going to be understanding up to a point," Berlin said. "Nobody wants to try a case a second time, so judges will make sure both sides are ready and have complied with all the rules."

Thankfully, he said, the passage of time does not change the facts of the case.

"We seek justice in every case and we want justice in this case, so it's frustrating to see it drag on," Berlin said. "But the length of time gone by will not affect our case whatsoever. We will be ready on the trial date."

In the 30 months since Shaun's death, Bruce Wild said the family, including Shaun's brother Kevin and sister Shannon, have been active raising money for the Shaun Wild Memorial Fund, which was established to help student athletes in both Naperville and Wild's native Brown Deer. North Central College officials, however, confirmed a scholarship set up in Wild's memory at the college has been depleted.

"We've been told (by prosecutors) to hang back so we haven't been able to do all of the things for that scholarship that we would have liked to," Jami Wild said. "We had some early events planned, but they fell through and we never got that momentum back. Hopefully this trial will shine some light on that and encourage donors to keep it going."

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