Bail denied for man accused of knocking woman, 66, on to Green Line 'L' tracks in unprovoked attack




  • In US
  • 2021-10-10 22:54:00Z
  • By Chicago Tribune

A man accused of violently knocking a 66-year-old woman on to elevated tracks at a CTA Green Line station had received conditional discharge the day before related to a similarly unprovoked attack on another older woman, Cook County prosecutors said Sunday.

Gary Coleman, 32, of Bronzeville, faces multiple counts of aggravated battery related to the Oct. 8 attack at the Cermak-McCormick Place Green Line platform in the South Loop. He was ordered held without bail during a hearing broadcast on YouTube less than a week after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor battery involving another woman, according to prosecutors.

The unidentified victim and her daughter had just received a runner packet for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon when they entered the train station platform that evening, authorities said. The victim's daughter said she noticed Coleman talking to himself in angry tones as he approached them, Assistant State's Attorney John Chambers told the court.

After Coleman passed, the woman turned in time to see her mother "in midair falling on the tracks below," Chambers said. CTA surveillance allegedly captured video of Coleman striking the woman on the head as he passed, knocking her toward the tracks, Chambers said.

Coleman fled the station but was arrested the next day at the Central police station where he stopped, asking to use the phone, authorities said. Officers recognized him from a police bulletin on the incident and took him into custody.

The victim was rushed to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where she was treated for a broken right orbital bone, dislocated wrist, a concussion and a laceration to her forehead, Chambers said.

Coleman has prior convictions for aggravated battery and aggravated criminal sexual assault, authorities said.

On Oct. 4, Coleman was accused of punching a 60-year-old woman in the head, causing her to fall and briefly lose consciousness, Chamber said. Three days later, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery in the case and was sentenced to eight months of conditional discharge.

During the hearing, there was brief mention of Coleman's possible mental illness, with the judge granting an order that jail officials provide him with medical care.

Coleman, the father of a 14-year-old daughter, was unemployed due to the pandemic but was recently accepted to East-West University, according to his court-appointed attorney, Courtney Smallwood.

Judge David R. Navarro approved a petition to deny bail, calling Coleman a threat to the community and added a $50,000 bail for violating his conditional discharge. The judge expressed shock at the random nature of the crime and the numerous injuries to the victim.

"Fortunately (the victim) didn't hit a rail that could have electrocuted her," Navarro said. "We have an individual who is doing nothing other than taking public transportation, attacked on a CTA platform by an individual who just the day before had been placed on court conditional discharge. Just the day before."

Coleman is scheduled to return to court on Thursday.

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