Victim: Duane Hurley
Age at time of killing: 16
Crime location: North Ridgeville
Crime date: January 22, 2010
Killing method: Stabbing
Motivation: Alleges Hurley sexually abused him
Convictions: Voluntary manslaughter & aggravated assault
Elyria, Ohio— The Ohio Adult Parole Authority has asked Lorain County Common Pleas to rule that convicted killer Daniel Kovarbasich violated the terms of his probation when he and another teenage inmate at the Lorain County Jail allegedly threatened to stab a guard last month. Daniel, 17, is currently being held in isolation at the jail after corrections officers found him guilty of violating jail rules for the Jan. 21 incident. Kovarbasich’s cellmate, Terrell Fennell, 17, also was found guilty of violating jail rules and given isolation. The two teens are accused of threatening to stab a guard with homemade knives after one corrections officer told them to be quiet. Another guard overheard the pair allegedly making the threatening comments using a system that allows corrections officers to overhear what inmates in a cell are saying. Guards also found two homemade knives fashioned from pencils that had been taped together during a search of the area Daniel and Terrell shared. Those allegedly belonged to Terrell, although Daniel reportedly confessed to taping pencils together himself but took them apart before his cell area was searched. Sheriff’s deputies have said that Terrell, who is jailed on heroin, robbery and other charges, and Daniel could face criminal charges over the alleged threats. Burge sentenced Daniel to five years of probation after finding the teen, who was tried as an adult, guilty of voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault in the beating and stabbing death of Duane Hurley on Jan. 22, 2010. Hurley is suspected of possibly sexually abusing Kovarbasich.
NORTH RIDGEVILLE, Ohio — A Lorain County judge found the 16-year-old North Ridgeville boy accused of fatally stabbing a 55-year-old man guilty of voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault this afternoon.
Common Pleas Judge James Burge ruled after telling attorneys that closing arguments were not necessary.
Burge heard from Daniel Kovarbasich this morning. The teen testified that he had been molested for two years by Duane Hurley.
Burge will sentence Daniel in a few weeks. Daniel’s attorney, Jack Bradley, said of the verdict, “We got what we had hoped.”
Kovarbasich testified that Hurley befriended him by paying him $30 to watch his dog for 10 minutes.
Days later, Hurley told the boy, “Come by my house and do yard work,” Kovarbasich said. “He only lived two minutes away.”
Kovarbasich said he began visiting Hurley’s Ronald Court house two or three times a week and was paid for doing chores.
“He became like a grandfather,” Kovarbasich said.
But then Hurley began letting Kovarbasich drive his Corvette, the teen said, in exchange for engaging in sexual activity — looking, then touching, then sodomy.
The Plain Dealer’s policy is not to name victims of sexual assault. But Kovarbasich’s name has been previously published in relation to the homicide.
Kovarbasich said he and Hurley would go shopping, and Hurley bought him gifts, including a pocketknife.
That knife, Kovarbasich said, was the first one he used Jan. 22 to stab Hurley. He stabbed him twice in the head before the blade snapped, Kovarbasich said.
Hurley was stabbed 55 times and bled to death at his home.
Kovarbasich said that the day of the slaying was the one-year anniversary for he and his girlfriend. He planned to spell out “I Love You” with roses in the snow in her front yard. He also wanted to buy her a Chinese dinner. He needed $80.
Hurley said he would give it to him, Kovarbasich testified, but insisted on having sex.
“I didn’t like the relationship, the horrible bad stuff,” Kovarbasich testified. “I told him I didn’t want him to touch me anymore.”
He said that Hurley responded: “What do you think, I’m going to do this for you for nothing?”
Kovarbasich said he grabbed a pickle jar and hit Hurley on the back of the head. Hurley fell, then got up.
“I pulled out my pocketknife and stabbed him,” Kovarbasich said.
Hurley got up again. Kovarbasich said he ran to the kitchen, grabbed a knife and continued the stabbing.
“I thought I stabbed him 17 times,” he said, “but I guess it was 53.”
Kovarbasich then called his father, who drove him to St. John Medical Center because he was covered with blood. His father called police.
Kovarbasich’s attorney asked him why he didn’t he tell anyone that he was being molested.
“I was scared of people knowing,” the teen said. “It was embarrassing.”
Updated Jan 12, 2019 Posted May 06, 2011
ELYRIA — A Lorain County judge will allow a 17-year-old killer to return to his parent’s home while officials attempt to locate a juvenile rehabilitation facility that will accept him.
Daniel Kovarbasich has been held in County Jail since August when he was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault for killing 55-year-old Duane Hurley. The teen hit Hurley, who was a neighbor, in the head with a pickle jar and stabbed him 55 times.
Common Pleas Judge James Burge sentenced Kovarbasich to five years probation, but ordered that he go to a juvenile rehabilitation facility before he is released from custody. County officials have not been able to find any such facility that will take him because of the violent nature of his crime.
Burge signed an order Thursday placing Kovarbasich under house arrest. He will go home Sunday, but the arrangement is temporary. Kovarbasich will be transferred to a juvenile facility when a suitable one is found.
The judge ordered Kovarbasich be fitted with a GPS ankle monitor that will track his movements. He will be allowed to leave his home in North Ridgeville in the company of a parent to visit his lawyer. He will be evaluated by a psychiatrist to determine if he needs treatment. He will also be assessed by North Ridgeville schools to determine if he qualifies for an individualized education program.
Kovarbasich faces up to 10 years in prison if he violates the terms of his house arrest.
In arguing for the move to house arrest, Kovarbasich’s lawyer said that the psychiatric interviews would not be effective if they took place in jail.
Assistant Lorain County Prosecutor Tony Cillo said the office knew nothing about the judge’s decision until they heard about it from the media. He said they had no input in the decision, and Cillo declined to comment further.
Prosecutors had objected to Kovarbasich’s original sentence. They filed an appeal over Burge’s sentence of probation but it was denied.
Burge recently allowed the teen to leave jail to attend his grandmother’s funeral, and last year Kovarbasich was permitted to travel to Chicago to appear on the “Oprah Winfrey Show.”
Kovarbasich claimed that he had been sexually abused by Hurley. He said he had performed sex acts with Hurley for money for several years. He said he snapped on Jan. 22, 2010, when Hurley refused to give him money for a date unless he consented to having sex.
North Ridgeville police said an intensive investigation into Hurley’s background failed to uncover any other hint of sexual misconduct going back decades. Investigators said that the only evidence of a sexual relationship between Kovarbasich and Hurley came from the teen.
In January, Kovarbasich was charged with threatening to stab a guard at the County Jail. He admitted the offense before Burge, who returned him to jail with a warning.