When Mekiel Hampton appeared before Judge Susana Ortiz in June on allegations that he burglarized a restaurant on the 500 block of North State, Ortiz gave him her best “concerned mother” speech.
“Whatever you are doing. Whoever you are hanging out with, that is not working out for you very well,” Ortiz told Hampton. ”Stop…I don’t want to see you continue on this path because it is not a good one and it will end up in an awful, awful place if you don’t stop and take a breath and start making some better decisions.”
Since then, authorities said Thursday, Hampton attacked and helped rob two men on the 400 block of North State on August 28 — a brutal crime that was captured on video that went viral. Less than 12 hours later, he allegedly helped beat and rob another man on the 600 block of North State.
First things first, though.
Around 6 a.m. on June 24, police responded to a burglary in progress call at a restaurant on the 500 block of North State. CPD officers tuned into a nearby surveillance camera feed and saw three men crawling into the restaurant. They gave descriptions of the burglars to responding officers who arrested Hampton nearby. He was holding five bottles of alcohol from the restaurant, and three bags of crack fell out of his hat when cops searched him, prosecutors said during his bond hearing the next day.
After giving Hampton her lecture, Ortiz sent him home on a recognizance bond and ordered him to stay in the house from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.
It’s not clear if that curfew was still in effect when he allegedly beat and helped rob two men at 1:30 a.m. on the 400 block of North State street two Saturdays ago.
Prosecutors said Hampton approached a 54-year-old man who was working on a laptop inside Snickers Bar, 448 North State, and told the man to hand over his computer. The man reportedly gave the laptop to the bartender and walked outside.
Hampton and 33-year-old Brandon Jefferson allegedly chased him down the street and began attacking him in the roadway. Jefferson was charged last week. Based on details provided during Hampton’s bond court appearance Thursday, 18th District police officers identified him as the attacker wearing a blue baseball hat during the viral video.
Among other things, the man in the blue hat is seen sucker-punching and robbing a 40-year-old man who happened to walk past the attack scene. At one point, Hampton pulled down his mask, which allowed a CPD surveillance camera operator to identify him, according to prosecutors.
The older victim suffered a broken nose, concussion, and two black eyes, while the other victim suffered orbital bone fractures and a broken nose, prosecutors said.
But Hampton wasn’t done, according to police. Around 1:05 p.m. the same day, a 54-year-old man was attacked by a group of three men who took his wallet and tried to take his laptop on the 600 block of North State, a CPD spokesperson said. According to a police report, the victim was initially unable to walk after the attack, but his condition later stabilized at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Investigators identified Hampton as one of the attackers, police said.
Hampton’s defense attorney said he has two young children and lives with his foster parents.
Judge Arthur Willis noted that prosecutors didn’t ask him to hold Hampton without bail. Instead, he set bail at $500,000 in the two State Street attacks and ordered him to go onto electronic monitoring if he can post a $50,000 deposit bond. Willis also ordered Hampton held without bail for violating the terms of bond in the restaurant burglary case.
Willis previously held Jefferson without bail at the state’s request.
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