Olaska to claim self-defense in Naperville stabbing murder

 
 
Updated 2/18/2015 6:59 PM
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  • Daniel J. Olaska

    Daniel J. Olaska

Attorneys for the Naperville man accused of slaying a popular teacher and stabbing two other men at a downtown Naperville bar in 2012 intend to argue he acted in self-defense.

Daniel Olaska, 30, of the 1500 block of Foxhill Road, 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.

Prosecutors say Olaska stabbed Hayes in the chest with a 5-inch folding knife after Hayes teased him about drinking beer from a wine glass.

Wild -- a 2011 North Central College graduate and second-grade teacher in Naperville -- was stabbed in the heart when he tried to intervene.

Olaska then stabbed and injured bouncer Rafael Castenada as bar staff members attempted to hold him for police, prosecutors said.

Olaska has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Wild and the attempted murder of Harris. His trial is scheduled to begin March 2, after several delays.

Attorney Ernest DiBenedetto said Wednesday, during a hearing on several pretrial motions, that he will argue that Olaska acted in self-defense.

"We've officially told them of our intent," DiBenedetto said outside of court. "So the self-defense defense is definitely in play for us at trial."

The acknowledgment came during discussion of one of DiBenedetto's motions calling for the prosecution to disclose "any violent and/or aggressive behavior of any victim." He also asks for disclosure of any convictions of any witnesses who prosecutors intend to call.

Prosecutors said they were not aware of any such behavior or convictions.

One final pretrial hearing is scheduled at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 27, where Judge Kathryn Creswell will rule on the admissibility of testimony from a bar patron who claims Olaska pulled out and showed him a knife about 25 minutes before the slaying.

Creswell also ruled Wednesday that Olaska will be allowed to get a haircut before his trial and will be allowed to wear street clothes for the duration of the trial.

Creswell said Wednesday the trial will last at least one week. Olaska has been held without bail since shortly after his arrest on the morning of the slaying.

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