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Man released from jail choked girlfriend, burned her with cigarette

  • Steven Derkits (Chicago Police Department photo)
Steven Derkits (Chicago Police Department photo)
August 22, 2013|By Rachel Cromidas, @rachelcromidas | RedEye

A Chicago man assaulted his girlfriend, burning her with a cigarette and choking her until she passed out, when he should have been in jail, county prosecutors said.

Steven Derkits was arrested for beating his girlfriend three weeks ago. He was sent to jail on a substantial bail bond. But when all but one of the charges against him were dropped, a jail employee erroneously released him on July 31, according to Cook County Sheriff's Department officials.

Derkits was arrested Tuesday and charged with multiple counts of aggravated battery and violating an order of protection the woman took out against him, Assistant State's Attorney Erin Antonietti said in court Thursday.

Antonietti said Derkits assaulted the woman at home on Aug. 17 after he suspected that she was cheating on him. In the bedroom he allegedly punched the woman in the face several times before grabbing a baseball bat and swinging it around with such force that it damaged the bedroom ceiling. Then Derkits choked the woman, whom he had been dating for about three and a half years, until she passed out, Antonietti said.

Derkits also burned the woman's body with a cigarette in four places, she said.

When the woman awoke she tried to flee the home, but Derkits blocked the door, according to court records. "Afraid for her life," Antonietti said, the woman fell asleep at the home and did not call the police.

Derkits was arrested Tuesday afternoon, shortly after he allegedly committed a second battery against the woman. During that incident, Derkits and the woman were at a bar near 47th Street and Sacramento Avenue, where he had been drinking, Antonietti said, when he punched the woman in the face inside the bar until other bar patrons stopped him.

He hit her again when they got outside the bar, and then returned to his home in the 4000 block of South Talman Avenue, according to court records.

The woman called the police, who arrived at their home Tuesday afternoon, and she opened the door for them, according to court records. Once inside, the police officers allegedly found Derkits hidden in a bathroom. Prosecutors said he lay on the floor and refused to come out of the bathroom, and police officers used a taser and pepper spray to arrest him.

Derkits, who appeared at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse on Thursday afternoon, was held with no bail.

Judge Laura Sullivan ordered Derkits held without bail for violating the conditions of his bond and the order of protection against him.

Derkits has previous felony convictions for aggravated battery and retail theft, and several misdemeanor convictions, Antonietti said.

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