Avon Lake/North Ridgeville

The murder trial for 16-year-old Daniel Kovarbasich has been set for April 5.

Kovarbasich, of North Ridgeville, pleaded not guilty Thursday to two murder charges and two counts of felonious assault. He is accused of the Jan. 22 murder of Duane Hurley, 55, also of North Ridgeville.

Kovarbasich and his attorney, Michael Stepanik, are likely to argue self-defense. Released court documents include statements the teen made to a nurse at St. John West Shore Hospital. The nurse’s notes state he told her he killed Hurley after his father, Terry, dropped him off at Hurley’s house before school. Kovarbasich told her Hurley would sometimes “act crazy” when he didn’t take his pills, and he had held a knife to Kovarbasich’s throat that morning. After a chase around the house, Kovarbasich told the nurse he took away the knife from Hurley and stabbed him multiple times.

The Lorain County coroner’s report stated Hurley died from loss of blood from multiple stab wounds.

Kovarbasich’s mother, Donna, called Hurley a pedophile and accused North Ridgeville police officers of protecting him after Daniel’s probable cause hearing. At the time, Stepanik said he was looking into this claim.

Court records show the police questioned both Daniel and his brother, Gregory, about any inappropriate sexual comments or activity by Hurley. Both denied the allegations.

Hurley previously supervised the Collective Community Effort in Avon Lake, where he handled, among other duties, the community service program for the Avon Lake Municipal Court.

Contact Bryan Wroten at bwroten@2presspapers.com

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