Marseilles machete case goes to jury

Bukowski argues he was provoked, justified

court gavel

A jury will decide Wednesday whether a Marseilles man was justified or provoked into wielding a machete, as his lawyer claims, or whether he’s guilty of felony battery.

Brad C. Bukowski, 51, faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of aggravated domestic battery, a Class 2 felony, for injuring a relative on April 20, 2023. Bukowski also faces a lesser count of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, a Class 3 felony carrying two to five years.

Though Bukowski still could take the stand when jurors return Wednesday to La Salle County Circuit Court, prosecutors rested Tuesday and La Salle defense attorney Doug Kramarsic said he expects no witnesses.

The relative testified Tuesday had gone to Bukowski’s residence to collect another relative’s cats.

The relative said he knocked on Bukowski’s door. Bukowski answered but then immediately slammed the door. The relative, who acknowledged having a poor relationship with Bukowski, knocked again and this time Bukowski appeared in the doorway with a machete.

“‘I’m going gut you like a (expletive) pig,’” the relative testified Bukowski told him. “And he cut me.”

The relative said he did not immediately realize he was hurt. A companion standing behind him noticed a cut to the man’s left forearm and applied a makeshift tourniquet. The injury left what witnesses described as “a trail of blood.”

He was taken by ambulance to the Ottawa hospital, where it took “seven or eight” stitches to close the wound. He testified he has residual issues.

“I have trouble grabbing things and holding onto things,” he said.

During opening statements, Kramarsic argued that Bukowski acted lawfully, that the relative and his companion arrived unannounced and without a police escort. They “pounded” on Bukowski’s door, Kramarsic said, which makes them the aggressors, giving Bukowski justification for arming himself. The relative, Kramarsic argued, even returned to Bukowski’s place after his discharge from the hospital

Kramarsic also left open the possibility the man was cut while tangling with Bukowski and not because Bukowski took a swing with the machete.

“Mr. Bukowski never once went looking for trouble,” Kramarsic said. “He was doing only what any reasonable, normal person would be doing. He never slashed anybody. He never stabbed anybody. He never threatened anyone. He never chased anybody.”

Prosecutor Jeremiah Adams argued Bukowski’s attack was unprovoked.

“At any time did you threaten Mr. Bukowski?” Adams asked the relative.

“No,” he testified.

“You just knocked on the door?” Adams pressed.

“(I) just knocked on the door and whatever happened happened,” the man said.

Adams also argued that Bukowski might have acted while under the influence – an arresting officer detected slurred speech – and resisted arrest.

Kramarsic disputed both allegations: Sobriety tests weren’t administered and Bukowski has mobility issues that would have impeded him from being easily cuffed.

A verdict is expected Wednesday afternoon.

Have a Question about this article?