Prosecutors: Burlington murder suspect's statements were voluntary
Daniel Rak may have been cold, tired and hungry from a night of drinking and using drugs, but statements he gave to Kane County sheriff's investigators regarding his father's Feb. 14, 2016, death were voluntary and should be allowed at trial, prosecutors argued Thursday.
"When the defendant wanted something, he got it. When the defendant spoke, there was no problem understanding it," said Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Alex Bederka. "Intoxication alone does not warrant suppression of a defendant's statement."
Rak, 31, is charged with killing his father, Jeffrey, 58, after the two fought in the elder Rak's home in Burlington Township. A few days before his death, Jeffrey Rak barged into the bathroom while his son's girlfriend was naked in a bathtub and Daniel Rak punched his father over it, according to court testimony.
Kane County Public Defender Kelli Childress wants Daniel Rak's statements banned from trial. She argues her client was intoxicated, vomiting because he was detoxing, and cold when he was questioned by detectives and, therefore, his video-recorded statements were not voluntary.
Childress also argues Rak was misled by detectives, who told him to "Just go with the flow. You're not in trouble."
The video recording of Rak's questioning was not played in open court, but Judge D.J. Tegeler has watched the recording in his private chambers.
Bederka said suspects being questioned don't have a right to be told of what the potential charges are against them.
"(Police) can flat-out lie," Bederka said. "They can tell the defendant he's not in trouble."
Bederka also noted that Rak was only questioned for about 81 minutes during his two-plus days being held by authorities before his release. Rak was later arrested in June 2016 on murder charges.
Childress will finish arguing on Rak's behalf Friday afternoon. It was not immediately known whether Tegeler would give his ruling then or at another date.
Rak has been held on $950,000 bail at the Kane County jail since his arrest. If convicted, he faces between 20 and 60 years in prison.