A Baltimore jury convicted a 65-year-old Southeast Baltimore man of first-degree murder and other charges in connection with a case in which prosecutors said he tied up and held his ex-girlfriend captive before fatally shooting his estranged wife.
Lukasz Szkiluk was arrested in June 2013 after the woman he had tied up was able to chew through ropes and break free while he was away. She called police, who responded to the home in the 200 block of S. Haven St. and arrested Szkiluk as he drove by.
Assistant State's Attorney Charles Fitzpatrick said police found Szkiluk with a Royal Farms chicken box, cigarettes and one of the cartridge casings from the gun used to kill Karolina Derezinska-Szkiluk, 38.
After his arrest, Szkiluk was recorded on a phone call made from jail in which he told a friend he was "[expletive] drunk" the night of the incident.
"I was playing with the gun," he said on the call. "I don't remember killing her."
Szkiluk took the charges to trial, where he sat next to a Polish interpreter and vigorously shook his head throughout Fitzpatrick's closing argument.
His attorney, Nick Panteleakis, told jurors that Szkiluk didn't have a motive for such a brutal attack. He also questioned why police didn't take certain steps during the investigation.
The attack began when the woman, described alternatively by Fitzpatrick as a girlfriend or ex-girlfriend of Szkiluk, came over to his home and the two began drinking. He pulled out a gun and pointed it at her, then tied her to a bed.
While tied up, she heard Derezinak-Szkiluk enter the home and heard a gunshot. Szkiluk told the woman upstairs that he had killed his wife, then took her downstairs and showed her the body under a blanket. The woman later was able to escape, and testified during the trial.
"She's lucky to be alive," Fitzpatrick told jurors.
Derezinska-Szkiluk had been married to Szkiluk, a painting contractor, since 2007 and they were in the process of getting divorced, Fitzpatrick said, though a possible motive for the rampage remains unknown.