Judge won't lower bond for beating suspect

January 24, 2012 5:01:58 AM PST
Raymond Palomino, 17, is one of seven teenagers charged in the videotaped beating of a Chicago high school student, but he's the only suspect who remains in police custody.

Palomino is charged as an adult in the attack on a 17-year-old high school student in a South Side alley. The beating was published on youtube.com. The other teenagers -- a 15-year-old girl, two 16-year-old boys, and three 15-year-old boys -- are considered juveniles. Michael Palomino, the suspect's father and a sheriff's deputy, is frustrated that his son is still being held by police when the other suspects have been released.

"My son has to sit in jail because I can't afford the bond," Michael Palomino, a 30-year veteran with the Cook County Sheriff's Department, said.

During a court appearance Monday, Judge Sandra Ramos refused a request from Palomino's lawyers to drop the bond, which is set at $100,000. She also denied a request to release Palomino on electronic monitoring.

Palomino remains at Cook County Jail.

"They're making this a high trial media case because he's the only one noticeable in the video, but there are six others involved in this," Michael Palomino said.

During the court appearance Monday, Palomino stood silent as his lawyer referred to the Kelly High School student as a "little kid" and a "peanut" who asked for puzzle books to help him pass the time in his jail cell.

"He needs books. He needs education. He doesn't need to be sitting in a room. He's a young, young kid with no financial ability," Ilia Usharovich, defense attorney, said.

Usharovich said the attack was in retaliation for an incident last year when the victim and his friends jumped the defendant and another boy after school.

"We don't know what my client did. It's clear he's in the video, but that doesn't mean he's guilty," Usharovich said.

Prosecutors say the entire assault was recorded by one of the attackers on his cell phone while the group beat up the victim in an alley in the 2700-block of South Shields. The 17-year-old victim suffered cuts and bruises.

After seeing the video, Sheriff's Deputy Michael Palomino turned his son in to police.

"I had to do what I had to do because I'm in law enforcement. It was never said in bond court that he turned himself in," Michael Palomino said.

The cases of the six juveniles were continued until next Tuesday so an interpreter can assist in the hearings because their parents' first language is Cantonese. Until then, the juvenile suspects must keep an 8 p.m. curfew and maintain a C grade average, according to the judge, and were warned not to have any contact with the victim.