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|Decker (click for larger version)|
August 28, 2012 | 08:15 PMGENEVA — Gene Decker, the town of Geneva supervisor one Illinois newspaper called a "mystery" Wisconsin official, paid $50,000 so a 50-year-old charged in the death of a 10-year-old boy can avoid spending time in Lake County Jail.
Decker wouldn't say why to reporters from the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and the Lake County News-Sun. On the phone Aug. 23, Decker told the Regional News he felt those other newspapers already convicted David Hatyina, Bartlett, Ill., who faces charges in the death of Antonio "Tony" Borcia.
Those reporters wanted to know why Decker paid half of Hatyina's bond and his connection to him.
"That's my wife's brother," Decker said. "He's my brother-in-law."
He said Hatyina faces five charges, including reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence.
A fifth-grader from Libertyville, Ill., Borcia was hit by Hatyina's boat July 28 in the Chain O' Lakes. According to Illinois newspapers, Borcia was being towed on an inner tube behind a pontoon boat driven by his father. Borcia reportedly was in the water when Hatyina's speedboat struck him. In a statement to the media, Borcia's family said the boy's smile lit up the room, and he loved his family and friends to no end.
"Our hearts go out to that family, but nevertheless, the worst thing I thought that would happen to (Hatyina) was for him to lose his job," Decker said. "That's why I posted bond."
Hatyina's bond was set at $1 million, and 10 percent of that — $100,000 — was posted earlier this month. Decker paid half that.
He said Hatyina's pretrial is Sept. 10 in Lake County Court.
"The trial could be in December, and for him to have to sit in jail all that time, he'd lose his job," Decker said.
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Randy Johnson, vice president of Nameplate and Panel Technology, posted the other half. Decker said he has heard "five or six versions" of where those funds originated, "but Randy Johnson showed up with the check." Hatyina has worked for Nameplate 18 years, Decker said.
As for the case against Hatyina, Decker said he wasn't in his boat at the time of the accident, but what's happened afterwards appears to be "rotten in Denmark."
"He will need a very good lawyer," Decker said of Hatyina.
Another side of the story
What has been widely reported in Illinois is that Hatyina may have had cocaine in his system and was over the legal alcohol limit when his speedboat struck and killed Borcia. Decker called the alcohol and cocaine claims "hooey."
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According to Decker, Hatyina was driving a 29-foot Scarab, what some call a "cigarette boat." Hatyina was driving the boat from Petite to Fox lakes and lined up behind four "monster boats" to enter a no-wake zone.
"My brother-in-law says they were going 20 to 25 mph and so were all the rest of the boats," Decker said. "They're all in this line, moving at a fairly good clip."
A pontoon boat — the one towing Borcia — was alongside Hatyina's boat. The pontoon swerved in front of Hatyina's boat. Hatyina turned to avoid a collision and "didn't see any kid," Decker said.
"At the time of the accident, there was so much confusion that they weren't even sure if it was my brother-in-law's boat that hit the kid," Decker said.
He added boat traffic on the Chain O' Lakes, especially in the area of this accident, can be pretty scary.
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"Fox Lake is notorious for drag races, speeding and drunken driving," Decker said. "Ask people why they don't boat on Fox Lake. It's like taking the Kennedy Expressway at midnight."
He said authorities questioned Hatyina for "about four to six hours" after the accident. According to Decker, preliminary tests indicated Hatyina's blood alcohol content was 0.06, but a blood test stated it was 0.07. In Illinois, 0.08 is the legal limit.
"They released him and they said if they had any questions they'd get back to him," Decker said.
Two weeks later, Hatyina went to Mexico for his girlfriend's daughter's wedding — what Decker called a "destination wedding." Hatyina was there for a week. When he returned to the U.S., police cuffed Hatyina and took him to jail, according to Decker.
"They said his (blood test) results were 0.12 and that he ingested cocaine within hours (of the accident)," Decker said. "Neither the first or second (blood) tests were even close to that (0.12). I question the chain of custody on that blood sample. … I'm not going to say he's being set up, but he's being set up."
Decker said he went to Waukegan, Ill., on Aug. 14 to post half of the bond. Prior to his visit, he called to find out who the check should be made out to. He said he was told to make it out to the Lake County Sheriff's Department.
According to Decker, when he presented the check, they said it should have been made out to the county's clerk of courts. Then, Hatyina's attorney told him they attempted to increase the bond to $5 million.
Prosecutors said Hatyina lied about his criminal record. However, Decker said Hatyina was arrested for drunken driving in the early 1990s, and the court ruled that if he incurred no more violations in a year, the citation would be removed from his record. Hatyina had not, Decker said.
When they asked if Hatyina had a criminal record, his answer was no.
"So he answered the question honestly," Decker said.
The Lake County judge ruled against increasing Hatyina's bond. Decker said his brother-in-law isn't wearing an ankle bracelet, but he's living under numerous restrictions, including that he cannot drink alcohol or leave Illinois.
Close to home
As for his wife, Judy, he said it's hit her hard. Hatyina has a young daughter, Somer, 8, to whom the Deckers are close. He said when they decided to live in Lake Como full-time, he moved there first. At that time, Judy Decker lived in Mount Prospect, Ill., so she could be closer to Hatyina and his daughter. That way, she could watch the girl while her brother worked, he said.
"We see Somer all the time because Judy basically babysat her for six years before she went to school," Gene Decker said. "Somer is like another daughter to my wife."
The girl accompanied Gene and Judy Decker on a recent boat tour of Lake Como which was filmed by the Regional News for a video about the town of Geneva's recent FunFestival. Gene Decker is also one of the organizers of that event.
How this affects Decker's position on the Geneva Town Board remains to be seen. Decker said three Walworth County supervisors have received calls about him posting part of Hatyina's bond.
But he's not concerned that it will affect his performance on the board or town business.
"I posted bail for a relative," Decker said.