Algonquin teen to plead guilty but mentally ill in father's death in 2010
A 19-year-old from Algonquin accused of killing his father nearly three years ago is set to plead guilty but mentally ill at his next court appearance in March, his attorney said.
David Szalonek, who was 16 at the time, suffers from Asperger's syndrome and is charged with first-degree murder in the shotgun death of his father, Brian, 51, on Feb. 8, 2010.
Defense attorney Brian Telander said his client will plead guilty but mentally ill to the reduced charge of second-degree murder at his next court appearance on March 13.
Telander said he and prosecutors have not agreed on a prison term.
"The State's Attorney's office has been very fair and reasonable in evaluating the case," Telander said Wednesday. "My client has significant psychological issues."
Brian Szalonek died in his home on the 1400 block of Westbourne Parkway from a shotgun blast to the head. Telander had said the fatal shooting occurred not long after his client had attempted suicide and received inpatient psychiatric care.
"It's horrible. The family is torn. It's a nightmare for the family," Telander said. "Everyone is comfortable with the resolution we've all agreed to."
The first-degree murder charges is an offense that carries a 20- to 60-year sentence that must be served at 100 percent.
Second-degree murder carries a prison term of four to 20 years and under state law, a defendant's sentence may be halved for good behavior.
Telander said the guilty plea will include a prison sentence. The younger Szalonek will be transferred to a secure treatment facility operated by the Illinois Department of Corrections and prison officials will decide if he eventually will be released into the general prison population.
Szalonek will get credit for the nearly three years in custody so far, and if he gets the top sentence of 20 years, he could be released within seven years.
According to court documents, prosecutors wanted the plea agreement set for March 13 because some of Brian Szalonek's relatives, who live out of state, want to be present for the court hearing.
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