'No Question Michael Delaney Killed Michael Scalzo': Public Defender
Michael Delaney, of Wheaton, argues self defense as he stands trial for the June 2009 murder of neighbor Michael Scalzo.
Michael Delaney plans to argue it was self defense when he stabbed Michael Scalzo to death in June 2009 outside their Wheaton apartments as his first-degree murder trial continues this week.
DuPage County Assistant Public Defender Brian Jacobs said Wednesday there is no question Delaney stabbed and killed Scalzo. "This is a trial about, 'Why?'" he said.
"Michael (Delaney) believed he was being attacked at 8:30 (p.m.) by Michael Scalzo, and he had the ablity and the right to defend himself," he said.
Delaney stabbed Scalzo, 40, with a five-inch steak knife after Scalzo approached Delaney to defuse an escalating conflict between Delaney and his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend, witnesses testified Wednesday.
The confrontation was the culmination of a breakup earlier that week that had started as "calm and mature," Delaney's ex-girlfriend Edita Pranckute testified Wednesday.
Pranckute, 34, had been hiding from Delaney in a neighbor's apartment after he threatened to kill her and her new boyfriend, Jonathan Nkhoma.
Nkhoma went to Scalzo's garage after work the day of the confrontation, where a few guys were drinking beer and smoking cigarettes while Scalzo worked on his dirt bike, witness Troy Beavers, 24, testified Wednesday.
About 6:30 p.m., after Nkhoma turned Delaney down when he asked the guys for a beer and a cigarette, Delaney pulled out a knife and said, "John, I'm going to kill you," Nkhoma testified.
"I said, 'Why don't you put (the knife) down and use the weapons that God gave you?'" he said.
Worried Pranckute wasn't safe in her neighbor's apartment, Scalzo, Nkhoma and the other men went to get her and found the words, "Will kill," carved into neighbor's front door and blood on the railing, witnesses said. Scalzo carried a bat with him, according to the testimony.
Having escorted Pranckute to his apartment, Scalzo returned to his garage with the other men. Delaney, witnesses said, kept "popping his head out" and appeared to be talking—but not necessarily saying anything specific to the men in the garage, Beavers said.
After about the third time, Scalzo confronted Delaney. As they exchanged words and Scalzo turned to go back to the garage, Delaney punched Scalzo in the head. Scalzo retaliated, connecting on one or two punches, before Delaney pulled off Scalzo's shirt and stabbed him four or five times in the torso, according to testimony.
Scalzo repaired cars and worked on motorcycles, and was a "handyman" in the neighborhood in Wheaton, his mother Janet Scalzo said.
She said talked to her son everyday and he would always tell her, "You are my sunshine," when they parted.
"He was my love child and he was a mama's boy," she said.
The trial will continue at 9 a.m. Thursday.