#56: Man tried to kill his wife on the Kennedy Expressway while on bond for domestic battery, on parole for domestic battery, and on conditional discharge for domestic battery, prosecutors say

A man who is on parole for domestic battery and on bond for another domestic battery tried to kill his wife on the Kennedy Expressway last week, prosecutors said.

The accused man, whom we are not naming to protect his victim, is the 56th person accused of killing, trying to kill, or shooting someone in Chicago this year while awaiting trial for a felony. A total of 82 victims are involved in those crimes.

Assistant State’s Attorney John Gnilka said the 39-year-old man and his wife went to a nightclub last Thursday night and got into an argument when he wanted to leave. Security officers at the club pinned the man to a wall after he grabbed the woman’s hair and gave the couple’s car keys to her. She then went to their car and began driving home with a friend.

As they were traveling, the man called his wife repeatedly, and the friend recorded some of the conversations, Gnilka said. The victim agreed to return to the club to pick the man up after dropping off the friend.

After she picked the man up, he began pulling her hair and choking her as she drove on the Kennedy near the Eisenhower Expressway exit, Gnilka said. She pulled over in a traffic lane and put the car into park as he allegedly squeezed her neck tightly with both hands from the passenger seat.

“You’re going to die tonight,” the man allegedly told her. “I’m going to kill you.”

The woman told investigators that she felt her eyes bulging out, and she lost consciousness from being strangled. She tried to escape when she regained consciousness, but the man punched her in the jaw and repeatedly pulled her back into the car by her hair, Gnilka said.

The woman managed to get out of the car after some of her hair came out. A passing tow truck driver called police and intervened, Gnilka said, and the woman locked herself in the tow truck for safety.

Chicago police and Illinois State Police troopers arrived at the scene and took the man into custody.

He is charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated battery by strangling.

An assistant public defender argued that there are no witnesses to any murder attempt and said the man denies choking anyone.

Gnilka said the man has a pending domestic battery case in which he is accused of breaking his wife’s arm with a body slam. The man is also on conditional discharge for yet another domestic battery case, and he’s on parole for still another attack.

In fact, Gnilka said, the man was sent to prison for the last case on November 4, but the state released him three days later because he received a 50% sentence reduction for good behavior and credit for time spent in custody before pleading.

Judge Susana Ortiz ordered the man held without bail on the new charges.

Editor’s note: This report continues our coverage of individuals who have been charged with murder, attempted murder, or trying to kill a person while on bond for a pending felony case. CWBChicago began our series of reports in November 2019 after Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans publicly stated, “we haven’t had any horrible incidents occur” under the court’s bond reform initiative.

The actual number of murders and shootings committed by people on felony bail is undoubtedly much higher than the numbers seen here. Since 2017, CPD has made arrests in just 4% of shootings and 31% of murders, according to the city’s data.  You can support CWBChicago’s work by becoming a subscriber today.

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