Teen held on $2 million bond in man's death during violent confrontation on North Shore beach
WAUKEGAN, Ill. (CBS) -- A young man's bond was kept at $2 million Friday after he and a co-defendant were charged with second-degree murder in the death of a man during a violent confrontation on a beach near Highland Park.
Jacob Firestone, 18, appeared in Lake County Court on Friday. He is charged with second-degree murder along with Nicholas Caban in the death of Matthew Ascaridis, 45, in September.
Prosecutors said at 12:54 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, Ascaridis – heard loud noises from Fort Sheridan Beach near his Highland Park home. He called the Lake County Sheriff's police and the Lake County Forest Preserve, then walked to the beach himself with a flashlight, prosecutors said.
He found Caban and Firestone on the beach – riding an electric surfboard, prosecutors said. A witness saw their violent encounter, but left, prosecutors said. Later, police responded when someone walking on the beach saw Ascaridis' body, prosecutors said.
Meanwhile, Caban called 911 and reported that a man with a flashlight had attacked him and Firestone, prosecutors said.
Both Caban and Firestone had been injured and were taken to the hospital, prosecutors said. Caban suffered injuries to the front and back of his head and was treated with sutures and staples, while Firestone underwent surgery for a hematoma, prosecutors said.
Firestone admitted to kicking and punching Ascaridis until Ascaridis was not fighting back anyone, prosecutors said. He and Caban left Ascaridis on the beach, prosecutors said.
A coroner's report indicated that Ascaridis suffered symmetrical injuries to his face from repeated blows, and his head had snapped side-to-side – resulting in a lacerated spinal cord and broken neck, prosecutors said. Ascaridis was so severely injured that he was unable to move, prosecutors said.
Ascaridis also showed signs of drowning – with some water and sand found in his body, prosecutors said. He had 12 lacerations to the back of his head, and an inch's worth of one of his ears was torn off, prosecutors said.
A defense attorney said Firestone was acting in self-defense – and emphasized that Ascaridis had caused Firestone to suffer a brain injury. The defense claimed Ascaridis had a violent character, and mentioned a video before this in which Ascaridis allegedly beat up a 14-year-old boy at a Highland Park skate park.
Prosecutors asked to have Firestone's bond kept at $2 million because of a previous juvenile case where he was kept on probation and did not comply, prosecutors said. Prosecutors said Firestone does not have a stable place to stay, and said he tested positive for cocaine and fentanyl while on juvenile probation.
The defense said since Firestone was first arrested in September, he has graduated from a drug program. The defense said he still suffers from memory loss and blurred vision, and has a hard time standing – and said he needs to be on probation to see doctors, also noting that his mother cannot afford the bond.
But the judge kept the bond at $2 million. Firestone is due back in court at 9 a.m. April 13.
Caban also had a bond hearing Friday, but has not yet hired a lawyer. He will need to return to court with representation on Monday.
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