Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The bizarre case of Duane Hurley and Daniel Kovarbasich

Prosecution's Opening Statement

Judge James Burge
Judge James Burge

The bench trial before Lorain County Common Pleas Court Judge James Burge began on Monday, April 26, 2010, and would last only a few days. Assistant Lorain County Prosecutor Mike Kinlin verbally took the judge through the events of January 22, 2010, in which he accused Danny Kovarbasich of ambushing and striking Duane Hurley in the head with a very large pickle jar that weighed approximately ten pounds, including its contents. After the initial assault, the prosecutor said, Danny ran into the kitchen and grabbed a knife, apparently the one found at the scene, and used it to stab Hurley numerous times after Hurley had stumbled out of his bedroom into the hallway, somehow reaching the location near the front door where his body was found.

"The incident on January 22, 2010 is not self-defense," Kinlin said. "...physical evidence indicates the victim was ambushed, pure and simple. I expect defense counsel to claim Duane was trying to rape Daniel, but you'll see that doesn't appear to be true....There may have been something sexual going on between Hurley and the defendant, but there was no rape."

Kinlin described how Hurley likely stumbled about as he made his way down the hallway of his home, leaving bloody smears on the walls.

Prosecutor Michael Kinlin
Prosecutor Michael Kinlin

"At the end of the hall, Duane is ambushed a second time," Kinlin said. "Physical evidence at the scene does not lie. It has no motive to lie."

Kinlin argued that Hurley was not killed in self-defense because of the absence of defensive wounds to his body. He said that Hurley had sustained a broken fingernail in the attack during which he likely attempted to scratch or claw at Danny's chest.

Kinlin suggested that there may have been other motives for Hurley's death. According to Kinlin, someone other than Hurley had used Hurley's credit card at a restaurant prior to his slaying.

"I also have a potential motive for attack because two days earlier, Hurley's credit card was used and there is a receipt from Golden Corral," Kinlin said. "But it's not Hurley's signature. Duane, however, as you know, is deceased and is unable to tell us what the real motive is....Based upon what you hear from witnesses and physical evidence, I ask that you return a guilty verdict on all four counts."

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