ST. CHARLES – An Algonquin teen who shot and killed his father in 2010 has been sentenced to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty but mentally ill to second-degree murder.
David W. Szalonek, now 19, was 16 when he shot 51-year-old Brian Szalonek in the head with a shotgun on Feb. 8, 2010, in their home on Westbourne Parkway. The plea deal was accepted Wednesday in Kane County Court by Judge James Hallock.
A psychiatrist diagnosed David Szalonek with Asperger’s syndrome, which is a form of autism, and depression. About six months before the shooting, Szalonek had been hospitalized in a psychiatric facility.
Kane County Assistant State’s Attorney Pam Monaco said David Szalonek told police that he and his father had argued for several hours the day of the shooting and his father hit him a couple of times.
“The defendant had been very angry at his father that day,” Monaco said. “Very angry ... around 6 o’clock that evening, the defendant decided he would kill his father.”
The elder Szalonek had been sleeping in a bedroom when his son entered and turned on the light “so the victim would see him,” Monaco said.
“The defendant pointed the shotgun at his father, cocked the hammer, and the victim saw his son, the defendant, point the shotgun at him,” she said.
Brian Szalonek got off the bed but tripped, and when he tried to get up, David Szalonek shot him in the right temple at a range of 1 or 2 feet, Monaco said.
David Szalonek then walked to a classmate’s house and told her that he killed his father and that he couldn’t turn himself in, but wanted someone else to do it.
The girl told her mother, who then called police.
David Szalonek’s brother came home and found their father’s body, Monaco said.
David Szalonek had not been attending Jacobs High School, where he was enrolled, following an incident a few weeks before in which he told a girl he would kill himself if she didn’t break up with her boyfriend for him.
During a meeting with school officials, David Szalonek’s mother had told them that a therapist had been found and her son was seeing him weekly.
School personnel suggested to the mother that he take some medication, but at the time, she indicated that he couldn’t do that because he had a heart condition that could be made worse by taking it, Monaco said.
Szalonek was not taking any medication at the time of the shooting, said his attorney, Brian Telander. Monaco said that the evening before the shooting, Jacobs officials received an anonymous tip citing concerns about Szalonek, who had made statements that “it was all going to end soon” and spoke of suicide.
School officials decided to contact Szalonek’s mother, but left a message and didn’t receive a call back, Monaco said.
According to court documents, more than one order of protection previously had been taken out by Szalonek’s mother against the victim. In court documents, she accused her husband of physical abuse and withholding financial assistance to the family.
David Szalonek also disclosed alleged sexual abuse by a family member, but charges were never filed. Szalonek was given credit for more than three years already served. With day-for-day credit as well as other possible programs, such as work release, he could be out of custody in four to six years, Telander said.
While in prison, he will be housed in a special unit for inmates with psychological issues and will receive treatment.