Burlington Township murder suspect admits to throwing bottle at, punching dad

  • Daniel Rak is on trial on charges he murdered his father in February 2016.

    Daniel Rak is on trial on charges he murdered his father in February 2016.

 
 
Updated 7/20/2017 6:03 PM

Angry that his father walked in on his girlfriend taking a bath, Daniel Rak went to his dad's bedroom to deliver a bottle of vodka and to tell him to show respect.

"Here's your freakin' alcohol," Daniel Rak recalled saying to his dad on a Kane County Sheriff's video played in court Thursday. "Then we kind of got into it."

 

At first, Rak told investigators he threw the bottle in a somewhat casual, backhanded motion toward his dad, but later admitted "as soon as I entered the door I hucked it at him" and punched his dad twice in the face, breaking his nose.

Rak, 31, is on trial for the first-degree murder of Jeffrey Rak, 58, whose body was found a little more than two days later.

Prosecutors contend Daniel Rak knew his actions from the fight could cause harm or death to his father, an alcoholic and former veterinarian.

Dr. James Filkins, forensic pathologist who conducted Rak's autopsy, said the cause of death was subdural hematoma -- or bleeding on the brain -- due to "blunt force trauma due to altercation."

Filkins concluded that the hematoma, which was jellylike and weighed nearly 2 ounces, was not a fresh bleed and put pressure on Jeffrey Rak's brain that affected the region that controls heartrate and breathing. If the bleeding was occurring and Rak died of something else, the hematoma would have been smaller, he said.

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"Whatever caused the broken nose was absolutely of sufficient force to cause the subdural bleeding or rebleeding," Filkins said. "Falling out of bed isn't what killed him. It might make the subdural bleed faster."

Rak's defense team, led by Kane County Public Defender Kelli Childress, argues that the elder Rak suffered not only from his addiction, but was prone to seizures and falls from blackouts that could have caused the hematoma.

Jeffrey Rak's body was found in the early morning hours of Feb. 14 at his home on Engel Road in Burlington Township near Sycamore after his son found him unresponsive and called 911.

In the video, a distraught, mumbling and at many times inaudible Rak outlines to investigators his father's drinking problems, saying the frequent falls could be "embarrassing."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The conversation turns to the fight they had late Thursday night, Feb. 11. Rak admits being angry, throwing the bottle at his dad but not hitting him with it, and punching him twice.

Rak told authorities he made up with his dad the next morning, had a long talk and gave him some water and a large flashlight so he could navigate through the cluttered home at night without falling.

Rak told police he saw his dad briefly Saturday morning still bleeding from his nose, but his dad didn't want to see a doctor.

After investigators searched the home, they resumed their questioning of Rak a couple of hours later.

The interview became heated when investigators showed Rak a photo of a deceased Jeffrey Rak, who had a swollen, bloody nose and two black eyes with a pool of blood on the carpet by his head, and they ask Rak what his "intent" was when he confronted his father.

"We're trying to find out why your dad looks like this in your house after you had a fight with him," they say. "He looks like somebody whose been there for a while."

Rak has been held at the Kane County jail since he was arrested and charged in June 2016. He faces 20 to 60 years in prison if convicted. The trial will likely wrap up early next week.

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