Stabbing suspect ordered to stand trial on murder charge

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Andrea Anderson
Wednesday, May 14, 2014

DELAVAN--Murder suspect Rafael Olivarez was covered in blood when he flagged down police officer James Berlin at a Delavan apartment early in the morning May 4.

Olivarez lead Berlin to an apartment, where Berlin found a man lying in the grass covered in blood, Berlin testified Wednesday.

The man on the ground, Ivan Guerrero, later died at Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center. An autopsy revealed the Delavan man died from blood loss caused by multiple stabs wounds.

Olivarez, 39, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide. He is accused of stabbing to death his cousin, Guerrero, 31, at Guerrero's apartment at 509 Lawson School Road, Delavan.

Defense attorney Travis Schwantes pointed out in court Wednesday that Olivarez was “not fleeing, not bailing out.”

Olivarez made motions, such raising his hands in the air, to lead the police to the scene, Schwantes said.

Guerrero had a stab wound about 5 inches long and 2 inches wide “below the ribcage and near the abdomen area,” Berlin said. He also had “slashing cuts to his left arm,” he said.

A trail of blood ran from Guerrero to the door of the apartment, where police found a “pool of blood,” according to a criminal complaint.

An officer said Guerrero was “unable to respond and was breathing slow, shallow breaths” when officers arrived at 3:17 a.m., the complaint states.

A family argument had escalated early that morning, and Olivarez, 51 E. Walworth Ave., Delavan, stabbed Guerrero, Delavan Police Chief O'Neill said in a previous interview.

At Wednesday's preliminary hearing, Walworth County District Attorney Daniel Necci filed the criminal complaint as evidence.

An officer spoke to Guerrero's wife, Brenda Garcia, who said at some point in the evening Olivarez “became belligerent with Guerrero” and saw Olivarez try to attack Olivarez, according to the complaint.

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

Schwantes asked the court to not bind over Olivarez for trial because the evidence is double-hearsay and there was “no testimony on this record from any reliable witness that they saw” Olivarez commit the alleged crime.

Before 2012, hearsay was inadmissible at preliminary hearings, unless it met other exceptions.

The purpose of a preliminary hearing is to determine if the defendant probably committed a felony.

Judge Daniel Johnson bound over Olivarez for trial, saying the prosecution established probable cause with police testimony and facts in the criminal complaint.

“The state is not required to play out their whole hand today,” Johnson said.

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

He is scheduled for an arraignment at 1:15 p.m. Thursday, June 5.

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