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Son of Delavan man stabbed to death: "He didn't deserve it"

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Andrea Anderson
August 13, 2014

ELKHORN—Family and friends donned black T-shirts reading “Justice for Ivan” and filled half a Walworth County courtroom Wednesday to show their support for the Delavan man stabbed to death in May.

Rafael Olivarez, 39, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide. He is accused of stabbing to death Ivan Guerrero at Guerrero's apartment at 509 Lawson School Road, Delavan, early in the morning May 4.

A Walworth County judge decided Wednesday that Olivarez should have a new preliminary hearing after prosecutors filed an amended criminal complaint in response to concerns raised by the defense.

One of Guerrero's children, Aziyah Guerrero, 11, on Wednesday was at Olivarez's continued motion hearing, where his attorney sought to have charges dismissed.

Wearing a black sweatshirt with the words “#mydadmyhero@ooze” above photos of him and his father, Aziyah stood next to his mother, Joleen Adams, with tears in his eyes.

“He didn't deserve it,” Aziyah said about his father before clinging to his mother who began to cry.

"My son needs closure," Adams said.

Underneath Aziyah's sweatshirt was a Green Bay Packer's jersey he had specially made for his father. On the back shoulders, in place of a team member's name, read “Ooze,” his father's nickname. The number is 31, the age of Guerrero when he died. 

Adams of Lake Geneva said family and friends will be at the remaining court appearances because they want justice for Ivan.

On June 5, Travis Schwantes, Olivarez's attorney, filed a motion to dismiss charges and release his client. He said a “key fact” in a sparse criminal complaint contradicts reports from law enforcement indicating Guerrero's wife, Brenda Garcia, told police she "saw the defendant grab a kitchen knife and stab Guerrero.”

At the June 19 motion hearing, Schwantes argued Garcia never saw the defendant stab the victim with a knife, undercutting the basis of the state's reasoning that Olivarez is responsible for the crime.

Haley Rea, assistant district attorney, told the court in June the state asked Joaquin Alonzo, Delavan police detective, to speak with Garcia a third time.

Garcia told Alonzo she “didn't directly see the object used to strike her husband," Rea summarized. "However, she did see the defendant over her husband's body. She saw blood at the same time her husband was being hit.”

Based on what she saw, Garcia believes Olivarez stabbed Guerrero, Rea said.

According to Delavan police reports, Garcia saw Guerrero at the bottom of the stairs with a “large hole in his stomach” and Olivarez standing in the kitchen with a knife in his hand.

Police reports indicate a steak knife with blood on it and scissors were found outside in the grass. Another bloodied steak knife was found in the kitchen. The knife found in the kitchen had a bent tip and the blade was bowed, a report states.

Another report indicates Olivarez “grabbed one of the kitchen knives in the apartment and intentionally stabbed her husband in the upper front of his body.”

At the previous motion hearing, Judge David Reddy delayed a decision on the motion to dismiss because he wanted to see a transcript of the preliminary hearing and possibly hear testimony.

Court Commissioner Daniel Johnson ruled May 14 there was sufficient evidence that Olivarez probably committed a felony based on the former criminal complaint filed as evidence.

On July 25, the state filed an amended criminal complaint and presented it at Wednesday's hearing. The amended complaint ended the motion hearing before any potential arguments could be made.

The amended complaint indicates Garcia saw Olivarez on top of Guerrero and saw blood while Olivarez hit “her husband with something,” but didn't know with what.

Reddy granted Schwantes' request Wednesday for a new preliminary hearing. It will be at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 2.

What lead to the stabbing has not been discussed in court.

According to police documents, family and friends say the stabbing was the result of an argument over the 2000 death of a cousin in Milwaukee.

Guerrero was living with the cousin, Jesse Perez Jr., when the cousin died. Milwaukee police ruled the death a suicide from a gunshot wound to the head. Olivarez is skeptical over the cause of death and suspects Guerrero was involved in the death, reports state.

After several hours of drinking, Olivarez and Guerrero “became belligerent” and began to argue and physically fight.

Olivarez is being held at the Walworth County Jail on a $1 million cash bond.



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