The woman who helped drive a stolen car for a Janesville murder suspect got a maximum sentence in Rock County Court on Tuesday.
Nicole R. Kazar, 25, pleaded guilty to driving a vehicle without owner consent and was sentenced to 18 months incarceration plus two years of extended supervision.
Judge Karl Hanson gave Kazar credit for the 520 days she has been in the Rock County Jail. She has 25 days left, said Assistant District Attorney Scott Dirks.
Julian D. Collazo, 22, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the stabbing death of Christine Scaccia-Lubeck, 43, at her Janesville home in December 2017.
Collazo is accused of taking Scaccia-Lubeck’s car after the stabbing and picking up Kazar. Kazar and Collazo knew each other, but the nature of their relationship was not clear. Kazar did not know what had happened until later, according to the criminal complaints.
Dirks said prosecutors do not believe Kazar was involved in the stabbing in any way, and if they did, they would have charged her for it.
Kazar has had a rough life, which includes struggles with drug abuse and being a victim of human trafficking in a separate case, attorneys said. She has a son and a ninth-grade education.
Deborah Scaccia, the victim’s sister, spoke during the hearing.
“I’m incredibly angry,” Scaccia said. “… I have two parents who now have to live without a child. I now thank God every day that I never had one, because I don’t even know how they can live, having to know what happened to their daughter.”
But Scaccia said she hopes Kazar understands she is young and has the rest of her life to make amends.
Kazar could do whatever she wants when she gets out of jail, “or she could turn it around and become a good person … and maybe be to her kids the kind of mom that they deserve,” Scaccia said. “And that’s what I’m hoping, and that’s how I keep from being too damned angry.”
Kazar choked back tears as Scaccia spoke and was tearful during the rest of the hearing. She declined to say anything on her own behalf.
“I want to believe that deep down inside she’s just a troubled girl,” Scaccia said, adding that Janesville is a great town, where people are willing to help, and she hopes Kazar takes advantage of that.
“She doesn’t realize that the person that was taken away from us was probably the nicest person she would ever meet and would have been one of those people that would have helped her, had she ever asked,” Scaccia said.
Dirks said Scaccia’s willingness to forgive is a rare thing from the family of a murder victim.
Kazar has gotten counseling in jail, and during her two years of supervision she will be able to get more treatment so she can be the mother her son deserves, Dirks said.
Kazar has helped in the investigation since she talked to a Janesville detective in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, after police there apprehended the two, Dirks said.
Hanson said he believes Kazar was not involved in the stabbing, but he said her case is connected to “a crime that shocks the conscience of this community,” and because of that, her case “cries out for punishment.”
Hanson said the maximum sentence provides that punishment and sends a message to the community.
Collazo’s murder trial had to be postponed because his attorneys discovered a conflict of interests, Dirks said. It is now set to begin Oct. 21.