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Private investigator testifies he was punched more than 100 times after Antioch-area father and son confronted him – Chicago Tribune


A private investigator testified Tuesday that he was punched more than 100 times after an Antioch-area man and his father drove up and accosted him as he was parked in their neighborhood working a case.

The investigator was the first witness at the Lake County trial of Russell Wright, who was 23 in January of 2021 when he and his father confronted the private eye.

Matthew Kulesza told jurors that he was parked on a residential street near the Wright house on the evening of Jan. 20, 2021, when Wright’s father, Steven, drove up and used his SUV to block Kulesza’s vehicle from the front. Moments later, Kulesza said, Russell Wright drove up from behind and parked a pickup truck behind the investigator’s car.

The elder Wright hit him twice in the face, Kulesza said, and the son also began hitting him.

“I got a guy attacking me and hitting me; he’s trying to pull me out of my car,” Kulesza told a 911 dispatcher on a recording that was played for jurors.

Kulesza said he suffered a badly broken nose and other facial bruising, and jurors saw more than a dozen photos taken of Kulesza on the night of the incident, with a bloodied nose and large knot under his eye.

“His nose was smashed,” Assistant State’s Attorney Tyler Dyson said in his opening statement. The prosecutor said the evidence in the case was “clear and overwhelming.”

Kulesza video-recorded parts of the encounter, which was played for jurors. On the recording, the Wrights pressed Kulesza on why he had been parked outside their home for the previous two days.

In court, Kulesza said he had been hired by an insurer and was investigating a claim filed by someone who lived several blocks from the Wrights.

Russell Wright’s attorney Elliot Pinsel said in his opening statement the Wrights were merely trying to ascertain why Kulesza was parked on their street.

“You’ll have to judge the credibility of who’s telling the truth,” Pinsel told the jury.

Both Wrights are charged with aggravated battery and robbery for allegedly taking the investigator’s phone away from him. The trial of Steven Wright is pending.

The case, which is being heard before Judge Patricia Fix, could go to the jury Wednesday.

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