Trial set to begin in Naperville teacher's slaying
Bruce and Jami Wild say they've spent the past three years carrying what seemed to be the weight of the world on their shoulders as they mourned the death of their son, Shaun.
They hope some of that weight will be lifted this week as the Naperville man accused of the slaying finally stands trial in DuPage County.
Daniel Olaska, 30, of the 1500 block of Foxhill Road, is accused of stabbing 24-year-old 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 in downtown Naperville.
"We've been hearing those details and have been carrying that with us for three years now," Bruce Wild said Friday. "To know that we're finally at that part of the process where justice will be served is a huge relief. It's always been something we knew we'd face one day, but now it's right in front of us."
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, authorities said.
Olaska then stabbed and injured bouncer Rafael Castenada as bar staff members attempted to hold him for police, prosecutors said.
"There's just no easy way to wrap your head around such a brutal and seemingly senseless act," Bruce Wild said. "I don't want to say we're looking forward to this, because this is something no parent should have to look forward to, but we're anticipating a successful prosecution and a just sentence."
Olaska faces natural life in prison if convicted.
"In my mind, that would be fair and just," Wild said.
Olaska's attorneys say they intend to claim he acted in self-defense when he brandished the knife.
Attorney Ernest DiBenedetto, who took over the case last year when former defense attorney Brian Telander became a circuit judge, said Olaska and his family also are eager for the trial to get underway.
"It's taken some time, that's for sure, but it has been necessary for both sides to be able to be as thorough as possible," DiBenedetto said. "This case is so unusual in that you could potentially have 150 or more witnesses to interview and hours upon hours of video footage to review. I've honestly never seen anything like it."
Jury selection is scheduled to start today and may last into Tuesday, before opening arguments begin. Attorneys expect the trial to last at least a week.
Olaska has been held without bail since shortly after his arrest on the morning of the slaying.