‘He would have killed me’: Defendant testifies in Elmhurst bar murder case

Despite being scared, he wanted to make sure victim was caught for doing damage to bar

The Lombard man accused of a 2021 stabbing outside an Elmhurst bar testified Thursday he was afraid the victim was going to beat him or throw him into the middle of the road after seeing how the man behaved after being ejected from the bar.

Ronald Dunbar, 58, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Karl Bomba, 28, of Yorkville. Bomba died two days after the April 10, 2021, stabbing.

Dunbar, who is on trial this week in DuPage County, took the stand in his own defense on Thursday. He testified that he was acting in self-defense when he stabbed Bomba once in the chest during a confrontation near the Spring Inn in Elmhurst.

“There was no way I was going to stand up against this guy in a fistfight. He would have killed me,” Dunbar said of Bomba.

Bomba and his brother were thrown out of the Spring Inn by the bartender after a dispute about mask-wearing, one of them going into the ladies’ room with his girlfriend, and one of them giving the bartender the double-bird insulting gesture.

Dunbar helped push the men out the door and helped close the door. One of the brothers then pounded on the glass door, one of them cracked a glass-block window, and Karl Bomba punched and shattered a 4-by-6-foot window.

The bartender came out, and the Bombas tried to punch him, according to previous testimony and a video recorded by a resident of an apartment across the street. Dunbar took his knife out, then put it back in his pocket.

He was scared that the Bombas were trying to get back in the bar. Still, Dunbar said he decided to go outside.

“After watching what these guys did, I wanted to make sure they were caught. I wanted to get their license plate number,” Dunbar said, explaining why he walked across the street with a friend.

He was behind the car as the friend took pictures. Bomba got out and approached them, and Dunbar took his knife out of his jeans pocket, opened it up and held it in front of himself with his left hand.

“I thought it would be more effective holding it out in front where he could see it,” Dunbar said.

Bomba picked the other man up by the shoulders and threw him into Spring Road, Dunbar testified. Then Bomba raised his right arm, with a fist, Dunbar testified. Dunbar said he blocked a punch with his right arm.

“I thought he was going to try to kill us or beat us. I wish I wasn’t there at that point,” Dunbar said.

He “made contact” with Bomba and moved the knife but said he didn’t “thrust” it.

After seeing Bomba go back to the car, get an item and throw it at the bar, Dunbar assumed Bomba had not been hurt.

He went home shortly after that, noticed a “minuscule” amount of blood on the blade, and figured that he had nicked or grazed Bomba. He washed the blood off the blade, Dunbar said.

The trial continues with closing arguments Friday morning.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.