Algonquin man sentenced to 18 years for killing father

Special to the Tribune

An Algonquin man today was sentenced to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty but mentally ill in the 2010 shooting death of his father.

In a plea deal with Kane County prosecutors David Szalonek, 19, of the 1400 block of Westbourne Parkway, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Brian Szalonek, 50, who authorities say had denied his son use of a computer to update his Facebook account.

Szalonek has been in custody since Feb. 8, 2010, when police responded to the family home and found the youth’s father dead in a second-floor bedroom from a gunshot wound. At the time, the son was a 16-year-old freshman at Jacobs High School. Defense attorney Brian Telander described him as a young man with a history of mental health troubles.

Prosecutors said Szalonek and his father had been arguing for three hours on the day of the shooting after Brian Szalonek denied his son access to the computer.

Szalonek told authorities that his father struck him several times during the course of the argument, which ended when the teen shot his father in the head with a 20-gauge shotgun, prosecutors said.

The mother and Szaloenk’s three siblings were not home at the time, according to authorities.

He was originally charged with first-degree murder, but prosecutors said there were some mitigating circumstances in the shooting. Court records indicated that Szalonek’s mother had sought orders of protection on three occasions against Brian Szalonek.

Telander said his client had a history of severe depression and suicidal tendencies, and although Szalonek was judged to be sane, the psychologist who examined said his mental state played a role in the shooting. There were also reports that Szalonek had faced previous abuse, Telander said.

“The police department, the family, the family of the father -- they were all in line that this was a just disposition,” Telander said.

State’s Atty. Joe McMahon called the plea deal the right end, in consideration of Szalonek’s mental health history and evidence that he had been previously abused. The guilty but mentally ill plea makes Szalonek eligible to receive treatment while serving his sentence.

“I am hopeful that this defendant will undergo the psychiatric treatment he needs and when he is released from prison he will be able to peacefully function in society,” McMahon said.

Under the terms of his plea deal, Szalonek is eligible for day-for-day credit, and he also received credit for the more than three years he has spent in custody. With all the deductions, he could be eligible for parole in about six years, according to prosecutors.

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