Proceedings delayed for man accused of killing Naperville teacher
By Susan Frick Carlman firstname.lastname@example.org December 10, 2012 11:14AM
Updated: December 12, 2012 11:02AM
The man accused of stabbing a popular schoolteacher to death in a downtown Naperville bar earlier this year will return to court in early February, after a holdup in pending paperwork delayed his scheduled status hearing this week.
Daniel J. Olaska, 28, of Naperville is charged with murder after allegedly stabbing to death Shaun R. Wild during a fight at Frankie’s Blue Room on Chicago Avenue on Feb. 4. Family members of both Olaska and Wild were on hand in Judge Kathryn Creswell’s Wheaton courtroom Monday morning.
Creswell agreed to the request from Olaska’s attorney, Brian Telander, for a postponement of the trial to 9 a.m. Feb. 5. The additional time, Telander said, will enable him to complete preparations for the defense process.
“We’re getting close to having everything,” he said.
Wild, a Lisle resident who was 24 when he died, was a 2011 graduate of North Central College. Originally from Brown Deer, Wis., he was in his first year as a second-grade teacher at Spring Brook Elementary School in School District 204 in Naperville.
Olaska faces seven counts of first-degree murder and an equal number of lesser charges stemming from the stabbing, which was captured on the nightclub’s security cameras. Telander said he has yet to share the tape with Olaska, who remains in DuPage County Jail. Two other men also were knifed during the late-night altercation, but both survived their injuries.
Authorities in June gave the go-ahead for DNA testing on the 5-inch-long folding knife that prosecutors say was used in the killing. In August, Creswell approved a request from the prosecution to have DNA testing done additionally on a trace of blood found on Olaska’s cell phone. Telander said that analysis is not yet finished. He is awaiting completion of the report from the coroner’s inquest as well, he said, before deciding whether additional motions are warranted.
Telander said he also has retained Dr. Syed Ali, an expert in forensic psychiatry who works at Linden Oaks Hospital and Edward Hospital in Naperville, to evaluate Olaska.
“He wants to go into the jail and talk to my client one more time,” Telander said.
Paul Darrah, spokesman for DuPage County State’s Attorney Bob Berlin, reiterated his department’s policy of withholding comment on cases while they are being prosecuted. The trial itself probably won’t begin until at least the end of 2013, Darrah said.
Some of Wild’s family members dabbed at their eyes with tissues as they awaited Olaska’s arrival in the courtroom. After Creswell’s ruling on the delay, they spoke briefly with members of Olaska’s family, conveying their wish for an expeditious trial.
Olaska’s friends and family members have defended the suspect, noting that he is an Eagle scout and an active member of his church. According to his lawyer, those attributes suggest the psychiatric evaluation is particularly crucial.
“Whenever you have a murder case (involving) a young man — masters degree, Eagle scout — you have to think something’s going on,” Telander said.