WOODSTOCK, Ill. (STMW) – A west suburban man who blinded an in-law in one eye by kicking him in the face as they argued about their favorite baseball teams was sentenced to three years in prison Tuesday.
Boguslaw “Bob” Czapla of Elmwood Park likely will serve about half that time behind bars for injuring 34-year-old Robert Steele during a family birthday party when friendly Cubs/White Sox banter exploded into violence.
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Steele lost his right eye, and suffered a broken nose and fractured orbital bone when he was beaten by Czapla and two other men during a child’s party on July 19, 2008, in northwest suburban Huntley.
Steele, a White Sox fan, was attacked by the other men — all Cubs’ backers — while they argued about their differing allegiances, authorities said.
“The acts of the defendant were senseless and brutal,” said McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather as she ordered the 39-year-old Czapla to prison. Czapla, who faced a maximum five-year term, was taken into custody immediately.
Steele, who was in the courtroom, said he was satisfied that Czapla must do prison time for attacking him.
“Justice prevailed,” said Steele. “I’m satisfied that he’s going to prison.”
But Steele wished Czapla, who was convicted of aggravated battery and mob action, could have faced a longer sentence for the injury he caused.
“I think he should have got more. I think he should have got 10 years,” said Steele, who said he only met Czapla on the day he was attacked.
Czapla is the brother of Steele’s brother-in-law, Jaroslaw “Jerry” Czapla, who already has been convicted and sentenced for his role in the beating.
All three men were at Jerry Czapla’s home for his 2-year-old daughter’s birthday party when they began talking about their favorite baseball teams.
The friendly argument eventually grew more heated, leading to punches being thrown and Steele being knocked to the ground, authorities have said. He was kicked in the face by Bob Czapla and hit by Jerry Czapla as well, authorities have said.
Jerry Czapla was sentenced last year to six months in jail and two years’ probation after pleading guilty to felony mob action.
A third man, Maciej Trojnar of Elmwood Park was also charged but remains a fugitive.
Steele’s injury cost him his job as a truck driver and has caused severe financial difficulties for him, his wife and their four young children, Steele said during the sentencing.
“I feel like a failure,” Steele said. “Now that I have only one eye, I can’t find steady work. I can’t provide for my family.”
Coping with his injuries also has been painful and difficult, Steele said.
“He doesn’t know what I’ve been through since this happened,” he said of Bob Czapla.
Czapla declined to speak during the sentencing, but defense attorney James McAuliff said he plans to appeal the sentence.
‘We felt probation and county jail time would have been sufficient,” McAuliff said.
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