Prosecutors have charged a man and a woman with separate attacks on the CTA system — one on a bus in Lincoln Park and the other on a Loop train platform. Both of the accused are homeless and have mental health conditions, according to their lawyer.
First, 28-year-old Jaqualah Norris is accused of slashing another bus passenger’s face on a #72 North Avenue bus around 3:10 p.m. Tuesday.
Norris was sitting behind the 25-year-old man when she got up in the middle of the ride and slashed his face from behind with a box cutter, Assistant State’s Attorney Brian Burkhardt said. She didn’t know the man, and they didn’t have any interactions before she attacked, according to Burkhardt.
The quick-thinking CTA driver hustled all of the other passengers off the bus and locked Norris inside until police arrived. She still had the boxcutter when police went inside to arrest her, Burkhardt said.
The victim was released from the hospital after doctors closed the cut on his face with 13 stitches.
Prosecutors charged Norris with felony aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
Assistant Public Defender Genevieve O’Toole said Norris has been homeless for three months and suffers from mental health conditions.
Judge Mary Marubio set bail at $100,000 after noting the apparently random nature of the alleged attack. Marubio ordered Norris to go onto electronic monitoring if she can post bond.
In the second case, prosecutors charged Michael Mateus with pulling another passenger down the stairs of a Loop L station and robbing him at knifepoint.
The victim was walking on the State-Van Buren platform around 7 p.m. on July 6 when Mateus attacked him from behind while holding a knife, according to Burkhardt and CPD records. Mateus, 59, allegedly fled after getting the man’s phone. Burkhardt said CTA’s surveillance system recorded the robbery.
On Wednesday, the victim called the police after coincidentally crossing paths with Mateus again. They arrested him, and prosecutors filed armed robbery charges.
O’Toole, the public defender, said Mateus has a mental health condition and has been homeless for five months.
Judge Marubio set bail at $25,000 and said Mateus must go on electronic monitoring if he posts bond.