Naperville man admits stabbing couple after their daughter called him 'ugly'

  • Zachary Machnikowski

    Zachary Machnikowski

Updated 6/29/2018 2:08 PM

In the early morning hours of March 31, 2015, Zachary Machnikowski stood over the bed of William and Mary Lenk of Naperville and stabbed them numerous times with a 10-inch long serrated bread knife.

He did so, he told authorities, because their daughter called him "ugly" and he was tired of it.


On Friday, Machnikowski accepted responsibility for the crimes and acknowledged he now faces between 12 and 60 years in prison when he is sentenced later this summer.

The 21-year-old of Spring Garden Circle in Naperville, pleaded guilty to charges of attempted first-degree murder and home invasion.

Machnikowski's attorney, Jay Fuller, told DuPage County Judge Liam Brennan that it was Machnikowski's idea to enter the blind plea rather than keeping his scheduled Aug. 14 trial date.

Prosecutors said Machnikowski broke into the Lenks' home on the 900 block of Iroquois Avenue around 1:25 a.m. and repeatedly stabbed each of them in the head, neck and body.

Authorities said Machnikowski believed the couple's daughter, who police said sneaked out of their house to attend a party, told another person at the gathering she thought Machnikowski was ugly.

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Authorities said he became angry, left the party, entered the Lenks' home through an unlocked rear door, and attacked the girl's parents.

Police said Machnikowski told them he entered the home planning to steal liquor, but instead stabbed the parents as a way to hurt the girl the way he said her comments hurt him.

Those statements, however, would have been barred from evidence had the case gone to trial in August, as a result of an April ruling by Judge Liam Brennan that Naperville officers "steamrollered past (Machnikowski's) attempts to exercise his Fifth Amendment rights" during their investigation by repeatedly ignoring Machnikowski's statements that he did not want to answer their questions and wanted to talk to an attorney.

Assistant State's Attorney and Chief of the Criminal Bureau Tim Diamond told Brennan Friday that Machnikowski stabbed the Lenks several times before William Lenk was able to knock the knife away. During the struggle, Mary Lenk escaped to a neighbor's home to get help.


Diamond said once Machnikowski was unarmed and no longer had the upper hand, he ran from the house and hid in nearby bushes until police arrived.

"This morning, Zachary Machnikowski admitted that in the middle of the night, he broke into an innocent couple's home, armed himself with a large kitchen knife, went upstairs and savagely attacked them while they slept," State's Attorney Robert Berlin said in a written statement. "I can't even begin to imagine the horror the couple must have felt when they were awoken in their own bedroom by a knife-wielding intruder."

The Lenks survived after being treated at Edward Hospital in Naperville for as many as eight stab wounds each.

Machnikowski has been held without bail since his arrest the night of the stabbings. His next court date was scheduled for July 25, at which time his sentencing date will be set. He faces between six and 30 years for each of the two charges and must serve the sentences consecutively.

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