Man pleads guilty to brutal Wicker Park attack — and gets out of prison on the day he arrived

The man who was accused of beating, robbing, and trying to sexually assault a woman he followed from the Damen Blue Line station in December 2017 has reached a plea deal. And, after receiving the state’s standard 50% sentencing discount and credit for time spent in jail while awaiting trial, he was released on the same day he arrived in prison.

Around 3:25 a.m. on November 26, 2017, a man followed the 23-year-old victim from the CTA station as she walked to her Wicker Park apartment. He pulled her into a gangway on the 1600 block of North Bell, where he beat, robbed, and undressed her, police said at the time.

Deonta Terry (inset) and a CTA surveillance image of the suspect that was released by police. | CPD

A source told CWBChicago the woman was still unclothed when a passerby found her about 15 minutes after the attack.

Police later released surveillance images of the suspect returning to the Damen Blue Line station after the attack. Deonta Terry, then 27-years-old, turned himself in to police hours later.

Court records said he grabbed the woman from behind, “dragged her into a gangway [and] strangled her unconscious” with his bare hands before he “ripped off” her clothes. Terry took the woman’s green coat, purse, iPhone, and cash, prosecutors said.

They charged Terry with robbery, kidnapping by force or threat of force, aggravated battery, and attempted criminal sexual assault by force.

Terry has now struck a deal with prosecutors, according to court records.

Under the agreement, Terry pleaded guilty to robbery, theft, and aggravated battery by strangling in exchange for three concurrent sentences of 6 years, 4 months. Prosecutors dropped eight felony counts in the deal, including attempted criminal sexual assault and kidnapping.

Terry received a 50% sentencing discount for anticipated good behavior in prison and credit for three years and 66 days that he spent in custody before pleading guilty.

According to Illinois Department of Corrections records, Terry arrived at Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet last Wednesday and he was released the same day.

He will be on parole until February 3, 2023. Judge Ursula Walowski oversaw the case.

“You can move to a nice neighborhood,” the victim later said, “and terrible shit can still happen to you. I know I learned my lesson.”

When Terry turned himself in, he told investigators he was a teacher at Community TV Network, which uses media to “improve the education, quality of life, and opportunities available to underserved youth in Chicago.” A post on the CTVN website one month before the Wicker Park attack referred to Terry as an “instructor.”

Ironically, in 2017, CTVN was celebrating its win of “Best Documentary Short” at a recent film festival in Vancouver. The film title? “How To Be A Man.”

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