COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — Chicago's Guardian Angels showed up at the courthouse Wednesday morning in a show of support for the family of a 15-year-old girl brutally raped and beaten on her way to school in December.
The mugshot of Luis Pantoja, a deaf and mute man charged in the attack, was featured prominently on signs made by the group.
"We are here for the family," said Miguel Fuentes, 42, one of the members of the group.
The teenage girl was on her way to school early on Dec. 17 when Pantoja hit her over the head with a blunt object, dragged her to the backyard of a home in the 2400 block of North Long Avenue and raped her, prosecutors allege.
The girl suffered multiple skull fractures and has undergone a number of brain surgeries, prosecutors have said.
Pantoja, 25, of the Belmont Cragin neighborhood, was charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated criminal sexual assault, among other charges.
He was identified after police matched DNA collected on the scene with Pantoja's existing DNA in a national database, police said.
Pantoja was accused last year in the sexual assault of another victim, according to court records. But a judge found no probable cause and dismissed that case.
"This guy got off," Fuentes alleged. "We don't want to see that happen again."
Pantoja remains in jail awaiting trial on $2.5 million bail.