ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP — Both the purported victim and the alleged attacker say it was self-defense that motivated them in a bizarre 2004 fight with a samurai sword in Sugar Grove.
On the opening day of trial Monday, the attorney for 47-year-old Ray Wilson said her client was simply defending himself against a crack-addicted homeless man Wilson had tried to help.
"This is a good example of the old adage: no good deed goes unpunished," said Kathleen Colton, who is representing Wilson. "It was a struggle for his life and he acted in self defense."
Wilson is charged with armed violence and aggravated unlawful restraint for attacking a houseguest with the sword, prosecutors said. They dropped aggravated battery charges on Monday.
The victim of Wilson's alleged attack — 33-year-old David Suthard — admitted during testimony he had serious problems by Nov. 8, 2004, when he came to live with Wilson in the 800 block of New Merrill Road in Sugar Grove. The former car salesman had become severely addicted to crack and ended up homeless, kicked out of his parents' house because of his drug abuse.
While staying at a friend's house in Aurora, Suthard testified he met Wilson, who often came over to buy drugs. In late October, Wilson offered to let him stay at his house in return for Suthard doing a few household chores.
But on Nov. 8, Suthard testified Wilson called him up to his room and accused him of stealing drugs and money. When Suthard went to look for the items in a closet, Wilson came after him with an approximately three-foot long samurai sword, Suthard testified.
Suthard said Wilson hit him several times with the blunt end of the sword, then slashed his face. Suthard escaped the closet and bit Wilson on the neck to defend himself until Wilson pointed the sword at his chest, Suthard said.
"He tried to kill me at that point," Suthard said. "I figured he was going to stick the thing right through me, and I gave up."
Suthard has since entered drug rehab and is now working on the futures and commodities exchange in Chicago. A scar was still visible on his left cheek and ear Monday.
Suthard admitted he had been smoking crack earlier in the day, but insisted he clearly remembered the alleged attack. And he stuck by his story even as Colton questioned him about the fight, suggesting Suthard had actually come upstairs to rob Wilson, and when he got caught, bit Wilson like a "vampire."
After the fight, Suthard said Wilson kept him in the house for two days, using tape to bandage Suthard's face.
Eventually, Wilson dropped Suthard off at a gas station where Suthard's mother picked him up and took him to a Downers Grove hospital. Police questioned him at the hospital about the incident, which Suthard testified he did not plan to report to police.
About one month later, police searched Wilson's home and found the sword lying near the entrance to the house and blood in Wilson's closet.
Wilson is expected to testify today in what could be the final day of the jury trial