January 22, 2010
North Ridgeville, Ohio
Daniel Kovarbasich (16) beats Duane Hurley (55) with a pickle jar then stabs him repeatedly

Hurley had been a friend of the Kovarbasich family for approximately 4 years. Daniel Kovarbasich alleged that during this time Hurley molested him. According to Kovarbasich, Hurley would grant favors or buy gifts in exchange for sexual activity.

According to Kovarbasich, he and Hurley were talking on January 22, 2010 and discussed Kovarbasich’s upcoming anniversary with his girlfriend and his plans to celebrate. Hurley asked how much he believed the date would cost to which Kovarbasich replied, “$80.” Kovarbasich testified Hurley responded, “You know this stuff isn’t free, right?” which Kovarbasich believed carried the implication of sexual intercourse. In his words, Kovarbasich “just snapped,” hit Hurley in the head with a pickle jar, and stabbed him 55 times.

Investigators researched Hurley’s criminal record and found no history of sexual misconduct, though detectives testified Hurley’s home computer (which was allowed to be used by Kovarbasich and his brother) contained pornography. The brother also testified Hurley asked him about his genitals and inquired as to what type of pornography he would hypothetically want to make.

Assistant Lorain County Prosecutor Mike Kinlin sought the maximum sentence for manslaughter, a 10 year term, noting Kovarbasich had “exhibited a history of defiance of authority and had even called a teacher disrespectful names” beginning in third grade. Kinlin went on to write in a court document, “His fifth-grade teacher described him as ‘troubling,’ and stated he often used foul and inappropriate language which included sexual inferences … The defiant behavior continued into junior high school and high school. He was disciplined repeatedly for inappropriate behavior which included violence, intimidation, obscenity, sexual harassment and sexual assault … While Mr. Hurley’s actions of engaging in sexual acts with [Kovarbasich] were despicable, it does not justify [Kovarbasich’s] brutal actions.”

One of Kovarbasich’s defense attorneys, Michael Stepanik, criticized the prosecution’s choice to pursue the maximum sentence. “We want [Kovarbasich] to get the help he needs. Victims of sexual abuse are always championed by the prosecutor’s office. He had to take it upon himself to protect himself, even if he didn’t do it the right way. We want him to get the opportunity to do well, learn from this, heal from this and be a good person.”

Kovarbasich was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and two counts of felonious assault. He was given 5 years of probation under the condition he be remanded to a residential treatment center until his completion of high school, and was placed in the county jail until he could enter the center. While in the jail, Kovarbasich and another juvenile offender threatened to stab a guard. It was found Kovarbasich’s threat was in violation of his probation, and his probation officer recommended he remain in jail for the duration of his term. The recommendation was not taken and Kovarbasich remained on probation. He has stayed out of the news since.

Daniel Kovarbasich at trial

Kruzan, Sara. “Commentary: Legislature will consider measure to help, not punish, kids who are exploited.” Las Vegas Review-Journal. February 23, 2019. Accessed: January 22, 2020. https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/80th2019/ExhibitDocument/OpenExhibitDocument?exhibitId=37387&fileDownloadName=0306AB158_dolj_testinsupport.pdf
Sangiacomo, Michael. “Teen killer Daniel Kovarbasich to be released on house arrest.” Cleveland.com. May 6, 2011. Updated: January 12, 2019. Accessed: January 22, 2020. https://www.cleveland.com/metro/2011/05/teen_killer_daniel_kovarbasich.html
“Daniel Kovarbasich found to have violated probation.” WEOL. April 15, 2011. Accessed: January 22, 2020. http://weol.northcoastnow.com/2011/04/15/daniel-kovarbasich-found-to-have-violated-probation/
Payerchin, Richard. “Daniel Kovarbasich on lockdown: Teen faces jail discipline for threatening remark about officer.” The Morning Journal. January 25, 2011. Accessed: January 22, 2020. https://www.morningjournal.com/news/daniel-kovarbasich-on-lockdown-teen-faces-jail-discipline-for-threatening/article_e1e9c8e0-f5fa-5ca8-abc0-ffda89fb4feb.html
Metz, Kelly. “Kovarbasich should get 10 years for ‘heinous’ murder, prosecutor says.” The Morning Journal. June 5, 2010. Accessed: January 22, 2020. https://www.morningjournal.com/news/kovarbasich-should-get-years-for-heinous-murder-prosecutor-says/article_a3790279-02c5-5b76-b270-72849fd48179.html
“Guilty: Murder Suspect Who Claims Sex Abuse Found Guilty.” Cleveland 19. April 29, 2010. Accessed: January 22, 2020. https://www.cleveland19.com/story/12397079/guilty-murder-suspect-who-claims-sex-abuse-found-guilty/

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