Delavan man sentenced to 20 years in prison for killing cousin in 2014

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Andrea Anderson
Monday, April 25, 2016

ELKHORN—Nearly two years after Ivan Guerrero's death, Rafael Olivarez apologized for killing his cousin.

“I want to say that I'm really sorry for what I did, and I did not intend to kill my cousin Ivan,” Olivarez said through tears Monday before being sentenced to 20 years in prison.

“I love my cousin, your honor. I want to ask my cousin Ivan's family for their forgiveness.”

Guerrero's family members filled the courtroom pews behind Walworth County District Attorney Dan Necci.

In the first row sat Ivan's wife, Brenda Garcia, who was there May 4, 2014, when Olivarez, 41, stabbed Guerrero, 31.

Olivarez of 51 1/2 E. Walworth Ave., Delavan, pleaded guilty Monday to an amended charge of first-degree reckless homicide. In September 2014, he pleaded not guilty to the initial charge of first-degree intentional homicide, which carries up to life in prison.

A five-day trial was set to begin Monday, May 2.

Defense attorney Edward Hunt and Necci jointly recommended that Olivarez serve 20 years in prison and 20 years of extended supervision.

Less than 10 minutes later, Judge David Reddy granted their request, and Guerrero's family filed out of the courtroom, but not before a man stood up and yelled, “You'll get yours, punk!”

Necci said Hunt had approached him about Olivarez pleading guilty to the amended charge, asking that each recommend the same sentence of 20 years in prison and 20 years of extended supervision.

Before agreeing, Necci met with the two lead Delavan police detectives and Garcia and her attorney, all of whom agreed to the plea deal, Necci said.

Necci said the main reason he agreed was because Garcia wanted it.

“I have to take into account a lot of factors in a case like this, but the number one factor for me was what the victim felt justice was, and the victim was very clear with me that she wanted me to accept this offer,” he said. “And it certainly doesn't spit in the face of justice.”

Early on May 4, 2014, after several hours of drinking, Olivarez and Guerrero “became belligerent” and began to argue and fight at Guerrero's Delavan apartment, 509 Lawson School Road, according to court documents.

The prosecution has said Olivarez grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed Guerrero in the upper body, leaving a wound five inches long, two inches wide and deep enough to expose tissue.

Garcia tried to intervene but was thrown aside by Olivarez. That is when she saw Olivarez take a kitchen knife and stab Guerrero, the complaint states.

Hunt had argued that Olivarez grabbed a knife off Guerrero's body in self-defense.

The defense claimed Guerrero was a member of a gang and had committed several crimes, the knowledge of which contributed to Olivarez's state of mind.

Scissors and a steak knife with blood on it were found in the grass outside the home. Another bloodied steak knife was found in the kitchen, police have said.

Olivarez was taken into custody that day, and Guerrero was transported to Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center in Janesville, where he died.

Family and friends claim an argument over the death of a cousin, Jesse Perez Jr., in 2000 in Milwaukee led to the stabbing.

Last updated: 4:34 pm Monday, April 25, 2016

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