Man charged with killing Naperville teacher gets trial date

  • Daniel J. Olaska

    Daniel J. Olaska

 
 
Updated 10/8/2014 12:03 PM

More than three years will have passed before the man accused in a 2012 stabbing death in downtown Naperville goes before a jury.

Assistant State's Attorney Demetri Demopoulos told Judge Kathryn Creswell Wednesday that prosecutors will be ready to try Naperville resident Daniel Olaska on March 2, 2015. Earlier this summer, attorneys for both sides said they hoped to have the case resolved by the end of January.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I thought we were going to set something in late January," said defense attorney Ernie DiBenedetto, who took over the case from former defense attorney Brian Telander, who was appointed a circuit judge in April. "The state said that's what they thought was a good date and that'd be fine with us, too. We'll definitely be ready to go by March 2."

Olaska, 30, of the 1500 block of Foxhill Road in Naperville, is accused of stabbing Spring Brook Elementary School teacher Shaun Wild in the heart with a pocket knife after stabbing Wild's friend, Willie Hayes, during a Feb. 4, 2012, confrontation at Frankie's Blue Room at 16 Chicago Ave.

Olaska also is charged with knifing bouncer Rafael Castaneda, whom police said tried to intervene. Olaska has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Wild and the attempted murder of Harris.

Demopoulos told Creswell he expects the trial to last two weeks.

"I find it encouraging that the state thought the trial would last two weeks. I think that's probably fair. There's a lot of video and a lot of witnesses to go through," DiBenedetto said outside court. "There are just not that many crimes that occur, literally, in the presence of over 100 people. This is a big crowded area. Violence is not uncommon in a tavern or a saloon, but there's typically not nearly as many people as were packed into this place."

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Earlier this summer, Wild's parents, Bruce and Jami Wild, of Brown Deer, Wisconsin, said they're frustrated Olaska still has not been brought to trial. A call to their home Wednesday morning was not immediately returned.

Officials said the case was nearing a trial in April when Telander was appointed to a circuit judge seat.

DiBenedetto said he can appreciate the Wild family's frustration.

"I really can understand where they're coming from because in most circumstances this case would have been tried and over by now." he said. "(The Olaska family) is anxious to get this over, too. No matter where you stand in this case, you need finality in terms of the justice system."

Olaska has been held without bail since his arrest. His next court date is scheduled for Feb. 18, 2015.

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