Prosecutor: Elmhurst bar slaying was revenge, not self-defense

Ronald Dunbar wasn’t defending himself in April 2021 when he stabbed a 28-year-old man in the chest during a confrontation outside of an Elmhurst bar, a prosecutor argued Friday.

“Killing someone over property damage is not self-defense, and revenge is not self-defense,” DuPage County Assistant State’s Attorney Diane Michalak said during her closing argument at Dunbar’s murder trial.

Dunbar, 58, of Lombard, is charged with first-degree murder for the death of Karl Bomba of Yorkville.

Prosecutors say Dunbar used a folding buck knife with a 3½-inch blade when he stabbed Bomba once in the heart shortly after 6 p.m. on April 10, 2021, near Spring Inn bar on Spring Road in Elmhurst.

Michalak said the confrontation that resulted in the deadly stabbing was sparked by Dunbar being “mad these young men (Bomba and his brother) invaded their townie bar, made a ruckus and broke windows, and wanted to make them pay.”

But Dan Cummings, one of Dunbar’s attorneys, said the idea that Dunbar was intent on killing Bomba because the 28-year-old damaged the bar was “absurd.”

“You have to believe that somehow, some way, all the things he (Dunbar) had done in his past life got left behind so he could want to run over there and kill Karl Bomba,” Cummings said.

He referred to testimony from friends, co-workers and his wife about Dunbar’s personal and work life. They described him as a peaceful husband, father, youth hockey coach and building contractor.

Bomba and his brother were thrown out of the bar after a dispute with the bartender. Dunbar was a patron.

An autopsy showed Karl Bomba had a blood-alcohol content of .23, nearly three times the legal standard for intoxicated driving.

Dunbar chose to have his case heard by Judge Ann Celine O’Hallaren Walsh instead of a jury. The trial began Monday. Walsh will issue her decision on Wednesday.

On Friday, Michalak argued Dunbar intended to cause harm because he took his knife out of his pocket before crossing the street. (Dunbar testified he then put the knife back in his pocket.)

Michalak said Dunbar showed several signs of consciousness of guilt after the stabbing. He left the bar without talking to police officers who were there interviewing patrons about a disturbance in the bar involving the Bombas.

Another was that on his way home, Dunbar called a friend who had been thrown to the street by Bomba. The man testified Dunbar told him, “I had your back.”

Dunbar also washed blood off the blade of his knife — another sign he knew he was guilty of murder, Michalek argued.

She argued that Dunbar inserted himself into the dispute unnecessarily.

But Cummings argued Dunbar had a right to be out on the street. Cummings said Dunbar thought the Bombas were getting in a car and leaving when he decided to come out with his friend and get the license plate number.

Based on what Dunbar saw, including Karl Bomba punching out a window and both Bombas throwing punches at the bartender, it was reasonable that Dunbar thought he was in danger of being beaten when Karl approached him with a raised fist, Cummings said.

“He would have been pounded by this guy,” Cummings said. “He had no choice.”

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