Awaiting trial for murder, Algonquin eye doctor dies of COVID-19
An Algonquin eye doctor who had been awaiting trial for the 2019 first-degree murder of his girlfriend, and who was investigated in his wife's suspicious death eight years earlier, has died of COVID-19 complications.
Anthony Prate, 57, died Dec. 17 at Palos Community Hospital in Tinley Park.
Prate was charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Malgorzata "Margaret" Daniel, 48, of Schaumburg, on Nov. 23, 2019.
Prate, who pleaded not guilty to the murder charge, had been out of jail since January of 2020 and on house arrest living at his mother's home in Tinley Park wearing an ankle monitor. He had posted $300,000, 10% of his $3 million bond.
Cook County authorities allege Prate killed Daniel by stabbing her nearly 30 times.
Prosecutors said in a Rolling Meadows courtroom at one of Prate's initial appearances that he had become angry during a dinner at Daniel's home with another couple present. Prosecutors said he was triggered when the conversation turned to the topic of death and he was asked how his wife died.
Sometime after the other couple left the home, Prate made a 911 call asking for help because, he said, he and his girlfriend had a fight with a knife, she stabbed him and he stabbed her back. She lay on the floor "gravely wounded," he told the dispatcher.
But before Prate made the 911 call, he made at least three other phone calls, court records show. Prate waited at least 20 minutes before calling 911, Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Glendon Runk said in court, adding in that time, he did not try to give her CPR or help her.
Prate suffered cuts to his hands and his wrists, for which he underwent surgery, said Sam Amirante, Prate's attorney at the time of his bond hearings in 2020. Amirante described his wounds as "defensive."
Daniel was stabbed 27 times with a "butcher knife," Runk said. She suffered wounds to her arms, hands and each leg and had 15 stabs to her torso and seven in her upper back between her shoulder blades, Runk said.
After Prate was charged with first-degree murder in Daniel's death, McHenry County State's Attorney Patrick Kenneally and Lake in the Hills police announced in a joint statement they would re-examine the circumstances of his wife's 2011 death.
She was pronounced dead on arrival at an Elgin hospital after a car crash in Lake in the Hills, according to hospital documents.
In that statement released in December of 2019, officials wrote they would "continue to evaluate incoming information for any bearing it may have on the tragic death of Bridget Prate in 2011."
But that process, which included new interviews of people close to the Prates, did not lead to charges in her death.
"Dozens of prosecutors have reviewed this case across two administrations and over the course of many years," Kenneally said in a statement Friday. "Unfortunately, all have come to the same conclusion that there is just not enough evidence and the evidence available is too contradictory to come anywhere close to proof beyond reasonable doubt."
Learning of Prate's death left Daniel's oldest daughter, Patrycja "Tricia" Daniel, 29, "surprised," she said.
"I was just stunned," she said. "And like obviously, it just wasn't expected that it would (end) this way."
Patrycja Daniel said she would just like to move on with her life now, after bearing the stress of a potential, upcoming trial for more than two years and wading through the obstacles that the pandemic had put in the way of seeing any kind of justice.
"I think he got very lucky for sure," she said. "I feel like he's had a lot of luck on his side. ... He's had a lot of things turn in his favor."
Dominika Daniel, 27, echoed her older sister's reaction of hearing the news.
"I was stunned," she said. "I didn't really know how to react. Part of me, I guess, was like this is all over now. Then, another part of me was, I'm not going to get a lot of answers to the questions I have. The biggest question is, why?"
• For an extended version of this story, turn to the Northwest Herald.