Thirty minutes later, Duane was dead. Daniel had stabbed him 55 times Immediately after the stabbing, Daniel frantically called his father, Terry. Terry raced to meet Daniel and found him standing on the street, his hands caked in blood. Inside the house, the scene was gruesome. Duane lay lifeless at the top of the stairs with blood splattered across his body, floor and walls.
Daniel claimed that Duane had attacked him, but that wasn't true. The real story would unfold over the next several months, revealing a horrifying secret: Daniel alleged that Duane had been grooming and sexually abusing him for more than three years—and no one had a clue.
This was the start of the "grooming process," a calculated behavior that helps child molesters gain the trust of potential victims and, oftentimes, victims' families.
Initially, Daniel and his parents, Terry and Donna, were suspicious. "We got the information off the dog tag to go look [Duane] up online to see if he was a sex offender," Daniel says. "We didn't find anything."
So, when Duane began inviting Daniel over to his house to do odd jobs for money, his parents agreed—but they went to Duane's house with their son. "Duane welcomed us into his home and seemed very genuine," Terry says.
For the next year, both Terry and Donna accompanied Daniel on his visits to Duane's home. Over time, they began to treat Duane like part of the family. That's when things allegedly took a very Unbeknownst to the Kovarbasichs, Duane was skillfully grooming Daniel, as well as his parents.
"He'd buy me stuff," Donna says. "I'd say that I'm out of laundry detergent and have to wait until I get paid to get detergent. He would go out and buy detergent and bring it to me. I mean, he was a great guy. Who wouldn't like someone like this?"
Once the family was comfortable with him, Duane moved on to the next stage of the grooming process: lowering Daniel's inhibitions.
"He'd say stuff like, 'How many different ways can you say the word 'penis'?'" Daniel says. "[And] while I'd be using the bathroom, he'd walk by and open the door. He would also pee with the door open."
That's not all Duane did. He also let Daniel—who was too young to get a license—drive his sedan. To get the keys, Daniel says Duane asked him to expose his genitals. Them Daniel says Duane wanted to touch his penis. "After the touching," Daniel says, "I wanted to drive the Corvette. He [said], 'Bigger toys, bigger things.'"
"I felt like I had to. Like I couldn't get away from him," Daniel says. "It was like it was my fault. I was the one who showed him my genitals, which started it, and he kept using that against me. ... If I didn't [go over to Duane's house], he'd come find me. If I tell him no, then he was going to say something."
Duane continued to sexually abuse Daniel, even though the teen says he told Duane to stop. Then, the abuse began to escalate.
Two weeks before he murdered Duane, Daniel fell asleep on Duane's couch. "He anally penetrated me that night," Daniel says. "I acted like I didn't know." That's when Daniel says the rage and hate started to surface.
That Friday when Daniel came over to Duane's house before school, the two talked about the upcoming anniversary. "So all this [anniversary] stuff's going to cost...what?" Daniel says Duane asked. "$80," Daniel answered. Then, Daniel says Duane responded. "You know this stuff isn't free, right?"
Daniel says he knew Duane wanted to have sex, and at that moment, he realized that the molestation was not going to stop. "I just snapped," he says.
"Did you realize you had stabbed him that many times?" Oprah asks. "No," Daniel says. "I had no idea."
A judge found Daniel guilty of voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault. He was sentenced to five years probation (Great to see this kid get a break, after all the breaks these molesters get) and was ordered to stay in jail until the court finds him a therapy-based treatment facility.
At the sentencing, the judge read a quote from forensic psychologist Dr. Michael Welner: "A skillful groomer, a skillful abuser, gets into the child's DNA and becomes a part of the child, and the child can't cast him off regardless of the age."
Daniel could have spent a minimum of 15 years in prison if convicted of the original charge—murder. There are some people who feel the judge went too easy on the teen, but Daniel feels differently. "Do you feel that the sentence was fair?" Oprah asks. "I feel it was fair," Daniel says
Oprah asks Daniel what he'd say to other abused children who are feeling the same shame, guilt and rage that he felt. "You need to come out and say something, because it's not your fault," Daniel says. "No one is going to blame you. Man up."
Terry also has advice for children. "When anybody is giving you stuff that your parents don't want you to have and you think: 'Hey, this person's cool. He's giving me alcohol. He's letting me drive his car (sounds familiar Lebowits clan?). He is the cool guy. My parents suck,' listen. Something's wrong."