An Illinois teacher allegedly beat his wife to death over the course of three days, and when he finally called 911 after she lost consciousness he tried to blame her condition on her drinking, according to the Joliet, Ill., Patch website.
Michael Kazecki, 38, of Joliet, Ill., was arrested Tuesday night and charged with murdering his wife, Rebecca Kazecki, also a school teacher in Joliet, after she arrived at a local hospital brain dead from a severe skull fracture, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The violence that ended with Rebecca Kazecki’s death began Saturday, when she tried to intervene as her husband beat their 11-year-old son, prosecutors say, according to the Tribune. Irate, Michael Kazecki lashed out at her instead, and launched into a three-day spree of abuse, repeatedly kicking and punching his wife, prosecutors say.
The abuse only ended when Rebecca Kazecki lost consciousness on Monday, prosecutors say.
Michael Kazecki, a language arts teacher at Washington Junior High School in Joliet, called 911, but told the dispatcher his wife was suffering from alcohol poisoning, and that she had “passed out," according to Patch. When cops arrived, they found Rebecca Kazecki unconscious and lying on the floor by the couch, the website reported.
But when emergency responders brought her to the hospital, it was immediately apparent to doctors that she had been “beaten severely,” Patch reported. She was reportedly already brain dead when she arrived at the hospital, according to the Herald-News.
A preliminary autopsy found that Rebecca Kazecki died of blunt-force trauma, but her official cause of death is still pending, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Michael Kazecki was brought in for questioning on Monday night, and was arrested Tuesday evening, records show. In court, prosecutors told a judge that Kazecki had given statements to investigators and signed a “letter of responsibility,” the Tribune reported.
Kazecki was ordered held on $2,000,000 bond, according to court records. His only prior arrest in Joliet was for a sealed traffic violation, according to public records.
According to the Tribune, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services had previously investigated Kazecki for allegations of neglect, but closed the case for lack of evidence. The children of the couple are now in DCFS custody, the newspaper reported.
Kazecki has worked for 10 years in Joliet public schools, and prior to that had worked stints as a professor at colleges in the Chicago area, including Joliet Junior College, Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, according to Patch.
Rebecca Kazecki had worked for 14 years at Gompers Junior High School in Joliet, teaching special education, according to the Tribune.
In a statement to the Tribune, a representative of Joliet Public Schools District 86 said the community was mourning the loss of Rebecca Kazecki and were making counselors available to students, who return to class Aug. 20.
“We’re deeply saddened by the death of Gompers teacher Rebecca Kazecki and extend our condolences and sympathies to the family at this most difficult time,” spokeswoman Sandy Zalewski said in a written statement, according to the Tribune.
Both teachers were still listed on the department’s directory as of Thursday morning.
[Photo: Juliet Police Department]