In February 2016, 31-year-old Daniel Rak faced going to jail for 20 to 60 years for the death of his father.
Now, he may be sentenced to probation.Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office
As the Daily Herald reports, a jury in Illinois recently acquitted Rak on serious charges of first-degree murder and a reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter.
On February 14, 2016, authorities arrived at Rak’s home after his father was found unresponsive. Two days earlier, 58-year-old Jeffrey Rak and his son were involved in a physical argument in which Rak struck his father in the face.
As Old Town Alexandria Patch reports, Rak admitted to assaulting his dad for walking into the bathroom while his girlfriend was using it.
During the trial, prosecutors alleged Rak committed the assault because he was angry his father saw his girlfriend naked.
According to the Herald, Rak told police he went into his father’s bedroom and threw a vodka bottle at his father, a former veterinarian and alleged alcoholic, before punching him the face at least twice.
His father’s bedroom was reportedly filthy and littered with vodka bottles.
The following morning, Rak and his father reconciled; however, the next day Rak discovered his dad unconscious on the floor of the downstairs bathroom.
During the trial, prosecutors contended that Rak knew of his ailing father’s health issues including seizures, and was aware that the elder Rak had been hospitalized in 2010 for a brain bleed.
Prosecutors used the results from a forensic pathologist to suggest that the impact of Rak’s blows against his father’s head caused a “large subdural hematoma” and swelling of the brain.
As the Patch reports, prosecutors claimed Rak had broken his father’s nose during assault, during which the man exclaimed, “My nose!” Rak told authorities that his father’s nose was bleeding and that he continued to hold a rag to his nose for two days after the altercation.
Rak’s defense attorney, Kane County Public Defender Kelli Childress, argued that the authorities were quick to blame her client for his father’s death without investigating other causes such as heart disease or a fall — some other event which could have reinjured his brain bleed from 2010.
As the Herald reports, Childress disputed the time of the elder Rak’s head injury, claiming a defense expert believed it was older than three days.
Earlier in the trial, it was argued that due to his seizures and alleged alcoholism, Jeffrey Rak fell often and could have hit his head at another point in time.
Police testified that numerous empty vodka bottles were found near the deceased’s body and under his bed.
Ultimately, the jury convicted Daniel Rak of aggravated domestic battery.
According to the Patch, Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said:
“Domestic violence is at the root of far more deaths than most people realize. Regardless of what fuels their violence, domestic abusers must be held accountable.”
As for Rak’s defense team, the Herald reports they were all tears following their client’s victory:
The only thing we both expressed was a huge sigh of relief — it’s over,” Childress said afterward. “He hasn’t really had a chance to deal with his father’s death. He’s going to have a lot of things to focus on now.”
Rak was expected to be released from jail on a personal recognizance bond and will be sentenced in early September. He could be sentenced to three to seven years in prison or serve probation.