The bizarre case of Duane Hurley and Daniel Kovarbasich
Defense's Opening Statement
Defense attorney Jack Bradley countered that teenager Daniel Kovarbasich was a victim of sexual molestation and had killed Hurley to finally put an end to the abuse. Bradley explained how Danny and Hurley had met three years earlier in a park, where Hurley reportedly used his dog as a means to initiate conversation with the teenager.
"These people like Duane T. Hurley think they know what they are looking for," Bradley said. "They are looking for somebody they can groom. They look for the poor kid, they look for the kid whose family doesn't have very much and...for someone he can sort of bring into his world, and Danny was that person."
Bradley explained that as Danny and Hurley became closer, Hurley initiated sexual jokes, began leaving the bathroom door open while he urinated, and eventually began showing Danny pornography, including gay and what was believed to have been child pornography.
"This predator...knew that Danny would access his computer and might stumble upon some of this pornography that was illegal and that was (of) young boys around the ages of 13 to 16 engaged in sexual contact," Bradley said.
As time went on, the two began touching each other's genitalia, and the sex advanced from there. Bradley also explained how Hurley liked to take pictures of Danny.
"Not only (pictures of) Danny petting the dog or sitting on the couch, but also Danny sleeping," Bradley said. "Because Duane, in his warped world, decided that this was going to be his love interest. That Danny was going to be his boyfriend....This was going to be the guy he was going to groom to be his lover."
Bradley explained how Hurley owned "nice things that young boys like," including cars, which he used as incentives, along with money and gifts, to persuade Danny to agree to sexual favors.
"This is not something that just happens overnight," he said. "This grooming continues and continues, and it's not easy for any kid to admit. It's not easy to talk to a police officer and say, 'Yeah, I was engaged in a sexual relationship with Duane T. Hurley.' So when the police talked to him, he didn't tell them anything."
As he continued with his opening statement, Bradley said that a sexual encounter between Hurley and Danny occurred about two weeks before Hurley's violent demise. Danny had been sleeping on a couch, Bradley said, when Hurley began having sex with him. Danny pretended that he was still asleep. Bradley indicated that Danny went along with the sex because his parents were unable to "afford to do the things Duane T. Hurley could do for him."
On the morning of the violence, however, Danny had reached his breaking point. Short on money for the romantic evening that he had planned for his girlfriend, including spelling "I love you" with the roses in the snow and dinner at a Chinese restaurant, Danny had shared his plans with Hurley and had asked him for assistance to make the plans happen.
"But, you know, you gotta pay me back," Bradley said Hurley had told Danny. "And at this point, Danny knew what Hurley meant....He takes the pickle jar and smashes it into Duane's head and he does it because of what Duane has done to him and what Duane intends to do to him again."