(Lake County, IL) – After evading justice for nearly 25 years, Marek Josko was found guilty of one count of Reckless Homicide by a Lake County jury following the conclusion of the four-day trial on Thursday afternoon.
After closing arguments Thursday, the jury deliberated for approximately two and a half hours before returning with the guilty verdict.
Assistant State’s Attorney Scott Hoffert said, “The family and the Lake Forest Police Department have waited a quarter of a century for justice in Dennis Bourassa’s death. We are pleased with the jury’s work and its verdict in this case.”
The defendant, Marek Josko, was headed southbound in the northbound lanes on Route 41 resulting in the fatal crash on Dec. 9, 1995. Josko registered a .19 blood alcohol concentration level after the crash, nearly double the legal limit at the time.
Josko, now 67, had been released on bond prior to the initial charges being upgraded to reckless homicide following an investigation of the crash. Before Lake Forest Police could bring him into custody, he flew to Poland where he remained. New life was breathed into the case in 2014 when detectives at the Lake Forest PD worked with the State’s Attorney’s office, FBI and U.S. Justice Department to begin the process of finding and extraditing Josko through Interpol. Polish authorities arrested him in 2018 and Josko was finally extradited in the summer of 2020.
“After all these years without justice, I hope the family of the victim can now rest easy knowing that this ordeal is finally coming to a close,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said after the jury’s verdict was handed down Thursday. “It is important that we acknowledge what a collaborative effort it was to return Mr. Josko to Lake County. I thank Judge Michael Nerheim and Judge Ari Fisz for all the work they did to accomplish this while they were in the State’s Attorney’s Office as well as the work of all the law enforcement agencies both here and abroad.”
State’s Attorney Rinehart continued, “I want to commend the hard work of our team of prosecutors, Lauren Kalcheim Rothenberg and Scott Hoffert, as well as our Victim Witness Coordinator Melba Rivera, State’s Attorney Investigator Wayne Brooks and ASA George Pappas for all their work to achieve justice for the victim. The age of the case brought many challenges, but everyone was up to the task.”
Reckless Homicide, because the defendant was under the influence of alcohol, is a special class 2 felony, which carries a sentencing range of 3 to 14 years in prison. No sentencing date has been scheduled to date. A status date has been scheduled for Oct 12.
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