Attorney: Light 'bop' from son didn't kill Burlington Township man

  • Daniel Rak is charged with murdering his father in Burlington Township near Sycamore.

    Daniel Rak is charged with murdering his father in Burlington Township near Sycamore.

Updated 7/18/2017 5:49 PM
An earlier version misspelled the name of witness Brittani Decker.

Was Jeffrey Rak punched in the face, or merely "bopped?"

And was the brain injury found at his autopsy caused by his son's blow, or from vomiting, a fall, or other medical issues?


Daniel Rak, 31, is accused of killing his father Jeffrey, 58, at the house they shared on Engel Road in Burlington Township near Sycamore, in February 2016. Daniel's murder trial began Tuesday.

Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Alex Bederka told the jury in his opening statement Daniel Rak was angry that his father had walked into a bathroom where Daniel Rak's girlfriend was taking a bath Feb. 11, 2016, to ask where the vodka and cigarettes she had bought for him were. When she complained to Daniel Rak, the son took the items to his father, threw the bottle at him and hit him in the face multiple times, Bederka said.

"These actions took life's blood from Jeffrey Rak," Bederka said. Daniel Rak knew of his father's poor health, and "he knew such acts created a strong probability of death or great bodily harm."

Jeffrey Rak's autopsy showed he had a large pool of blood on his brain.

Public Defender Kelli Childress argued Jeffrey could have died of other causes, because he was very sick. He was an alcoholic, suffered seizures that caused him to pass out and had a 100 percent blockage in one of his heart's arteries, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cirrhosis and several other ailments, she said. She also said Daniel Rak said he "bopped" his father lightly.

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Brittani Decker, Daniel Rak's girlfriend, also testified about what happened the day Daniel Rak hit his father, and the day after, saying Jeffrey had apologized to her, and that the father and son spent the day watching TV together, lying side by side in the father's bed.

"They were best friends. Jeff was Dan's everything. Dan was Jeff's everything. Nobody loved Jeff more than Dan did," Decker testified. She also said they talked about seeking medical attention for Jeffrey Rak, even though Daniel Rak feared he would get in trouble, but that Jeffrey Rak refused.

Decker testified, when questioned by Childress, about being a heroin user at the time and now, and about convictions she has for possession of a controlled substance.

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