Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The bizarre case of Duane Hurley and Daniel Kovarbasich

Probation Hearing

Judge James Burge
Judge James Burge

On Saturday, March 26, 2011, after sanctions for violating jail rules and regulations were lifted, Danny was given a day-long pass from the Lorain County Jail and released into the custody of his parents so that he could attend his grandmother's funeral, an order signed by Judge Burge. The order called for him to be free from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for that one day only.

At a probation violation hearing before Judge Burge on Friday, April 15, 2011, for the alleged offenses regarding the "shank" comments and the pencil shiv, Danny was found to have violated the terms of his probation. But according to Judge Burge's ruling, Danny did not receive additional punishment for the offenses and was allowed to continue his sentence of five years probation despite a prosecution argument for additional punishment and a suggestion from the Lorain County Adult Probation Department that he be sent to prison. Assistant Lorain County Prosecutor Tony Cillo also had futilely argued that modifying pencils "so they can be used as a weapon" was a clear-cut violation of jail rules.

"[The jail pencils] are purposely made very small so they are unwieldy, but these are very strong so they would be longer and have the ability to shank," Cillo had said to the judge. "But what was most disconcerting, with the defendant's history, was that there was a weapon and he was talking about using a weapon."

Burge said that when he worked as a defense attorney, some of his clients told him they had done similar things with pencils to make them longer and able to better write with them.

"Daniel did do that with the pencils, just like everyone else does," Stepanik said. "I'm not saying that is correct. It is a violation of the rules, and he did break the rules."

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