COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A crowd of people watched a man get beaten unconscious outside the Belmont Red, Brown and Purple Line Station early Sunday morning after he tried to take his cellphone back from a thief, prosecutors said.
Morgan Townsend, 22, and Deondre Williams, 18, appeared in court Tuesday, charged with multiple counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, robbery and mob action after the attack.
The victim, a 25-year-old man from Orland Hills, and a second victim were at the Belmont station, eyes fixed on their cellphones, when two unidentified thieves snatched the phones out of their hands and took off, Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Erin Antonietti said during a bond hearing Tuesday.
The victims caught up with the suspected thieves in an alley adjacent to the CTA stop, Antonietti said. They were able to detain one of the alleged thieves and were waiting for police when the suspect "dropped the phone on the ground, and an unknown female came by and picked it up."
Moments later, Townsend and Williams came into the alley and demanded the victims "let go of their friend," Antonietti said.
The victims refused, Antonietti said. Townsend allegedly started throwing punches, and Williams picked up a piece of wood, breaking it as he used it as a weapon against one of the victims.
At one point, between 15 and 20 people surrounded one victim as the two alleged attackers continued to beat him, Antonietti said.
A witness on his way home from a party stumbled upon the scene.
"He was knocked out, completely," said the 36-year-old witness. "He was on the ground, right by the alley. One guy hit him in the face, and another guy kicked him. It looked like he was going to die or something."
When the witness rushed to aid the bleeding man, his attackers fled.
The two victims were taken to Illinois Masonic Hospital.
Williams and Townsend, arrested soon after the attack, were ordered held on $350,000 bond by Cook County Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. Tuesday.