Neighbor recounts night of 2013 Elgin murder; defense looks to half brother
The trial of Paul A. Johnson, an Elgin man accused of stabbing and killing his neighbor in March 2013, continued Tuesday with defense attorneys arguing Johnson's half brother was physically fit enough to commit the murder and prosecutors presenting crime scene evidence.
Johnson, 37, faces life in prison for the murder of Lisa Koziol-Ellis, 33, who prosecutors say was stabbed 55 times with a knife and screwdriver in her townhouse on the near-west-side complex of Garden Quarter.
Prosecutors also continued their case, calling numerous police officers who processed the crime scene and a couple who lived next door to Koziol-Ellis and her husband, Dash Ellis, who moved from Chicago just days before she was killed.
Maria Alecia Mora testified her boyfriend picked her up from her job in Carol Stream at 11 p.m. March 1, 2013, and they went to his house next to the Ellis' house.
Mora, through a translator, said she showered and went to bed but heard noise between midnight and 1 a.m. March 2, 2013.
First she heard a knocking like someone may have been hammering.
"(Then) I heard a groan, like something painful or a painful groan," she said.
Dash Ellis discovered his wife's body lying in a pool of blood just inside the front door at about 2:30 a.m. March 2 when he returned home from his job in Chicago.
Prosecutors argue that Johnson broke into the home between 11:30 p.m. March 1 and 1 a.m. March 2 and killed Koziol-Ellis.
Prosecutors also showed jurors the front door of the townhouse, which was removed and sent to the state crime lab before being wheeled into the courtroom on a dolly.
Prosecutors have said Johnson's blood and DNA match one of the blood spatters or smears on the inside of the door, and the tread of Johnson's Nike running shoes is consistent with a bloody shoe print found in the home's hallway.
Kane County Assistant Public Defender Ron Dolak has argued that Johnson's half brother, Harry Dobrowolski, who lived in Chicago and visited Elgin on weekends, actually committed the murder and that Johnson, out of "blind loyalty," helped clean up the crime scene.
Dobrowolski, who died of a drug overdose in his 50s a year ago, had only once in his life held a steady job, testified William Fischer, who was married to Dobrowolski's mother.
Fischer said he saw Dobrowolski and Johnson drinking beer and playing cards at Fischer's home, which was three doors down from Ellis' unit, the night of March 1 before he went to bed.
Fischer awoke after police arrived in the early morning hours of March 2 and saw Dobrowolski sleeping on the couch. Johnson was in his bedroom.
Fischer also testified he and Dobrowolski used to lift weights and exercise together.
The trial before Judge Susan Clancy Boles could last into early next week.
Johnson has been held on $5 million bail since his arrest in mid-March 2013.