Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The bizarre case of Duane Hurley and Daniel Kovarbasich

Danny's Testimony

Following testimony from detectives and the medical examiner, Daniel Kovarbasich was placed on the witness stand to testify in his own defense. Remaining somewhat stoical or unemotional, Danny explained how his relationship with Hurley had started out platonic but had transformed into something sexual. When he first met Hurley, he said he was only 12 or 13 years old. Hurley had been walking Tanner, and Danny had stopped to pet the dog. Hurley purportedly had asked Danny to watch Tanner for him for a bit, and afterward had paid him $30 for his trouble. Impressed that he could make that kind of money for such an easy chore, Danny did not hesitate to befriend the older man.

Daniel Kovarbasich
Daniel Kovarbasich

After becoming more acquainted, Hurley began inviting Danny to his home to help him with household chores, for which he was also paid. Danny reiterated that, in time, Hurley became "like a grandfather" to him, and that Hurley eventually met Danny's family and was invited to their home for holidays such as Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Hurley eventually began taking Danny out for dinner, as well as shopping, and sometimes allowed him to drive his car. Danny said that the other boys in the neighborhood had been impressed with Hurley's two sports cars.

The relationship between Danny and Hurley took a dramatic turn when Danny turned 15. At that time, according to Danny, Hurley began engaging him in sexual talk. He would ask him, for example, how many different ways he could say penis. The sexual talk only intensified. If Danny asked to drive one of Hurley's cars, Hurley allegedly responded with a comment about performing fellatio while holding the key to the car in front of Danny. On other occasions when Danny asked to drive his car, Hurley at first asked to see Danny's penis but later asked if he could touch it. Fondling each other eventually turned into masturbation. In response to his attorney's questioning, Danny said that he did not recall whether he ejaculated during the mutual masturbation sessions, prompting a statement from Judge Burge.

"Attorney Bradley," Burge interjected, "my observation would be if Daniel were abused at age 15 by Mr. Hurley, and it involved Mr. Hurley fondling Daniel, whether it resulted in ejaculation or not would be something a witness would not forget."

It was not clear whether Judge Burge had intended his comment to be an admonition or not, but Danny's testimony suddenly became more accommodating. At one point he was asked why he had not told his parents about the alleged abuse.

"He bought me stuff," Danny said. "If my parents knew that, they wouldn't let me go with him." In describing how the relationship changed over time, Danny said that fondling had turned into mutual masturbation, and eventually to oral sex. He appeared at a loss for words when prompted to explain why he was having sex with Hurley.

"I don't really know," Danny said. "When I wanted to drive the Corvette, he said, 'you know what that means. Bigger toys, bigger things.'"

Following additional questioning by Bradley, Danny said that their relationship eventually included anal sex. He admitted that he had allowed Hurley to penetrate him anally on three occasions, and said that he had penetrated Hurley twice. The last time they had engaged in anal sex had been approximately two weeks before Hurley was killed. In an apparent effort to counter the prosecution's statements that the police had not found any lubricants or sex toys in Hurley's house, Bradley asked Danny if they used a lubricant. Danny responded that they used their "spit."

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