CHICAGO (TOC) — The person charged with setting a homeless man on hearth who was typically seen strolling round downtown Chicago is being held with out bail.
Joseph Kromelis, often called the “Strolling Man,” won’t ever stroll once more after prosecutors say Joseph Guardia doused the 75-year-old homeless man with gasoline and set on him on hearth whereas Kromelis was sleeping on a sidewalk.
“The sufferer’s physique instantly turned engulfed in flames,” Prepare dinner County Assistant State’s Lawyer Danny Hanichak stated. “Because the sufferer obtained up, he started thrashing round making an attempt to place the hearth out. The defendant took off working.”
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Kromelis was on hearth for 3 minutes earlier than a Trump Tower safety guard rescued him with a fireplace extinguisher. The crime was caught on surveillance video.
“In 16 years of prosecuting instances I’ve by no means seen a video so horrific,” Hanichak stated.
Prosecutors stated Guardia did not know Kromelis. He advised police he was indignant and trying to set one thing on hearth.
“The defendant claimed he did not know an individual was there,” Hanichak stated. “The defendant didn’t present a selected motive aside from being an indignant particular person.”
Prosecutors do not buy it. They are saying Kromelis’ face and ft have been uncovered, in order that they imagine Guardia knew he was setting a human being on hearth.
“This defendant didn’t goal somebody who he had an argument with or somebody who wronged him or somebody he knew,” Hanichak stated. “He focused probably the most weak particular person doable.”
Surveillance video tracked Guardia’s whereabouts following the crime. He took the CTA Blue Line and a Tempo bus again house to Melrose Park, the place a police officer and one other resident acknowledged him after surveillance pictures have been launched by police.
Group activist Andrew Holmes got here to courtroom Monday to help Kromelis, who has no household right here in Chicago
“Simply because he was much less lucky than others sleeping on that sidewalk,” Holmes stated. “I am right here, I am standing for him.”
Because the decide gave Guardia no bail, the prosecutor stated this case will possible be upgraded to homicide. Kromelis was taken to Stroger Hospital. Medical doctors stated he’s not anticipated to outlive.
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