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Joliet teacher charged for fatally beating wife

Woman reportedly brain dead when she arrived at hospital

Michael Kazecki appears in a mug shot from the Will County Sheriff's Office. His wife, Rebecca, 38, died at Presence St. Joseph Medical Center shortly after 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Michael Kazecki faces a first-degree murder charge.
Michael Kazecki appears in a mug shot from the Will County Sheriff's Office. His wife, Rebecca, 38, died at Presence St. Joseph Medical Center shortly after 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Michael Kazecki faces a first-degree murder charge.

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 St. Joseph Medical Center at about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Jim Long said she suffered head trauma, skull fracture 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 home.

Rebecca Kazecki was taken to St. Joseph’s, where hospital 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 due to 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 St. Joseph’s. 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 prior 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 with Joliet School District 86.

Rebecca Kazecki worked most recently as an eighth-grade special education teacher, said Sandy Zalewski, district spokeswoman. Michael Kazecki 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.

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