A Joliet man brutally beat his wife to death after she intervened when he was hitting their 11-year-old son, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
Michael Kazecki, 38, faces first-degree murder and aggravated domestic battery charges in connection with the death of his wife, 38-year-old Rebecca Kazecki.
Rebecca Kazecki died at Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Jim Long said she suffered head trauma, a fractured skull and brain bleeding.
The fatal attack was the last in a string of beatings carried out over the course of three days by Michael Kazecki against his wife, Joliet Deputy Police Chief Al Roechner said.
Michael Kazecki called 911 about
4:30 p.m. and said his wife was suffering from “alcohol issues,” Roechner said. Responding officers found an unresponsive Rebecca Kazecki in the couple’s McDonough Street home.
Rebecca Kazecki was taken to the hospital, where staff discovered she had been severely beaten and alerted police, Roechner said.
Michael Kazecki was questioned and held at the police station overnight Monday. He was jailed Tuesday afternoon on probable cause of aggravated domestic battery and domestic battery. The charges were upgraded to murder after an autopsy conducted Wednesday revealed Rebecca Kazecki died from head injuries caused by blunt force trauma, according to a news release from the Will County Coroner’s Office
Michael Kazecki appeared for his bond hearing Wednesday afternoon via video broadcast from the county jail.
Long said Rebecca Kazecki was brain dead when she was taken to the hospital. In a police interview, Michael Kazecki admitted to kicking and punching her, he said.
The couple have three children ages 11, 9 and 5. Long said Michael Kazecki was hitting his 11-year-old son when Rebecca Kazecki intervened, and he in turn beat her.
Judge Bennett Braun set Michael Kazecki’s bond at $2 million, $3 million lower than what prosecutors requested.
Michael Kazecki’s attorney, Nathaniel Tate, said his client contests the nature of the charges. He also said his client has no previous violent offenses or arrests. Tate said Michael Kazecki once worked as a professor for Joliet Junior College, and he also worked for Moraine Valley Community College and South Suburban College.
Both Rebecca and Michael Kazecki worked as teachers in Joliet Public Schools District 86.
Rebecca Kazecki worked at Gompers Junior High School for 14 years, most recently as an eighth-grade special education teacher, said Sandy Zalewski, district spokeswoman.
Michael Kazecki was with the district for 10 years and most recently worked as an English language arts teacher for seventh- and eighth-grade students, she said.
Zalewski said district officials are deeply saddened by the death of Rebecca Kazecki.
“We extend our condolences and sympathy to the family at this most difficult time,” Zalewski said.
She said school social workers will be available to provide support for staff and students as needed, and they will continue to be available when students return to classes Aug. 20.
Rebecca Kazecki was featured in a May 2017 Herald-News story about Gompers Junior High School students raising money for a smartphone app to warn Joliet police dog handlers if their cars are getting too hot.