[Hpn] Homeless man beaten at library, On life support; suspect in custody

William C. Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Sat, 28 Jul 2007 19:28:46 -0400


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http://www.sj-r.com/News/stories/13026.asp

Homeless man beaten at library=20
On life support; suspect in custody=20


By JAYETTE BOLINSKI=20
STAFF WRITER=20
Published Saturday, July 28, 2007=20


A 45-year-old homeless man on Friday remained hospitalized in critical =
condition after having his head stomped on, allegedly by another =
homeless man, outside Lincoln Library Thursday night.=20

The victim was on life support at St. John's Hospital, authorities said. =

Robert B. Jones, 45, was arrested a short time after the attack.=20

He was charged with aggravated battery and is being held in the Sangamon =
County Jail on $200,000 bond.=20

The attack happened about 8:40 p.m. Thursday on the north side of the =
library, 326 S. Seventh St. Police have not said if they know what =
prompted the attack.=20

For more than a year, the library has been the center of a communitywide =
debate about how the city deals with its homeless population. A dozen or =
more homeless men and women have congregated on the property day and =
night, setting up sleeping areas on the plaza and keeping mounds of =
tarpaulin-wrapped belongings with them.=20

Police have received complaints about homeless people pestering =
passers-by, urinating on the outside of the building, fighting with each =
other and using drugs or alcohol.=20

The city this summer began paying for a storage unit elsewhere for the =
library homeless to keep their belongings during the day.=20

In addition, city workers began documenting all the homeless people at =
the library in order to try to help them with such needs as jobs, =
housing and transportation to other cities.=20

Sandy Robinson, the city's director of community relations, who has been =
involved with the assistance effort, called Thursday's attack =
disappointing.=20

"It's sad and tragic, really, that we seem to be making progress with =
these issues on a number of fronts and seem to have outside influences =
that continue to throw up additional hurdles," he said.=20

"This is what appears to be an incident that could have occurred =
virtually anywhere in the city - two individuals get into an altercation =
and something tragic happens. I don't think it has anything to do with =
them being homeless, but it obviously is going to take on that =
perspective."=20

Robinson said he is familiar with both men, but more so with Jones, who =
had been scheduled to meet Friday with city employees to talk about =
housing. Jones was a regular user of the storage unit - he was there as =
recently as 4:30 p.m. Thursday - and has had some "pretty significant =
interaction" with city employees.=20

Jones, who has a regular income, had stayed at one of the local shelters =
for a couple of weeks within the last month, but then returned to the =
street, Robinson said.=20

He said Jones was soft-spoken and withdrawn, and case managers who had =
talked to him thought the attack seemed out of character.=20

However, arrest records tell a different story.=20

Jones was arrested about 9:30 p.m. June 21 at Ninth and Carpenter =
streets, where he allegedly had attacked a 50-year-old stranger. A =
witness flagged down a patrol officer, who reported he had seen Jones =
kicking the man multiple times in the head and body.=20

When the officer ordered Jones to the ground so he could be arrested, =
Jones allegedly tucked his arms under his body so he couldn't be =
handcuffed. He cooperated after the officer threatened to use pepper =
spray on him.=20

The victim said he had never seen or talked to Jones before.=20

Jones also was arrested May 18, after he and his girlfriend were caught =
trespassing at St. John's Hospital. According to police, a security =
guard at the hospital about 9 a.m. told Jones and Dorothy J. Valentine, =
46, who also is homeless, that they had to leave or be arrested for =
trespassing.=20

Six hours later, the guard found them having sex in a fifth-floor =
restroom and had them arrested.=20

Ward 5 Ald. Sam Cahnman, whose area includes the library, said that =
while he agrees Thursday night's incident could happen anywhere, it's =
more likely to happen where people congregate, which underscores the =
need to find a solution to the homeless problem at the library.=20

Cahnman is drafting an ordinance that would allow a homeless fund =
check-off on all City Water, Light and Power bills. Customers could =
choose to have their bills rounded up to the next dollar, and the =
difference would be used to help the homeless.=20

"I think there's been a lot of improvement recently with the =
introduction of the (storage unit)," Cahnman said. "It seems like there =
are a lot fewer people out on the north end of the library than there =
used to be."=20

Another ordinance awaiting city council approval would authorize the =
library to spend $18,050 on 16 security cameras to be installed inside =
and outside the building, including in the parking garage. Guards would =
monitor the cameras.=20

"It didn't really have anything to do with the homeless, it's just a =
security thing," said Ernie Slottag, spokesman for the mayor's office. =
"We have them on the other buildings already, and since the library is =
part of the municipal complex, it's only fitting that they have them =
too."=20

Robinson said he believes the attack will prompt some community =
discussion.=20

"I'm just hoping that, like many tragedies, that something positive can =
come from it," he said.=20


Jayette Bolinski can be reached at 788-1530 or  =
_jayette.bolinski@sj-r.com.=20



William Charles Tinker=20
New Hampshire Homeless=20
Founded 11-28-99
25 Granite Street=20
Northfield,N.H. 03276-1640 USA=20
Advocates,activists for disabled,displaced human rights.=20
1-603-286-2492=20
http://www.missingkids.com=20
http://www.nationalhomeless.org=20
http://www.newhampshirehomeless.org=20
newhampshirehomeless-subscribe@topica.com=20


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<DIV><FONT size=3D5><SPAN class=3Dheadline><A=20
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<DIV><FONT size=3D5><SPAN class=3Dheadline></SPAN></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT size=3D5><SPAN class=3Dheadline>Homeless man beaten at =
library=20
</SPAN><BR><SPAN class=3Dsubhead>On life support; suspect in custody=20
</SPAN></FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT size=3D5><SPAN class=3Dsubhead></SPAN><BR>&nbsp;</DIV></FONT>
<DIV class=3Dbyline>By JAYETTE BOLINSKI <BR>STAFF WRITER </DIV>
<P><I><SPAN class=3Dstorytext>Published Saturday, July 28, =
2007</SPAN></I>=20
<P>
<DIV class=3Dstorytext>A 45-year-old homeless man on Friday remained =
hospitalized=20
in critical condition after having his head stomped on, allegedly by =
another=20
homeless man, outside Lincoln Library Thursday night.=20
<P></P>
<DIV=20
style=3D"CLEAR: right; PADDING-RIGHT: 5px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px; FLOAT: =
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<FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>
<SCRIPT src=3D"http://digg.com/tools/diggthis.js" =
type=3Dtext/javascript></SCRIPT>
</DIV>The victim was on life support at St. John's Hospital, authorities =
said.=20
<P>Robert B. Jones, 45, was arrested a short time after the attack.=20
<P>He was charged with aggravated battery and is being held in the =
Sangamon=20
County Jail on $200,000 bond.=20
<P>The attack happened about 8:40 p.m. Thursday on the north side of the =

library, 326 S. Seventh St. Police have not said if they know what =
prompted the=20
attack.=20
<P>For more than a year, the library has been the center of a =
communitywide=20
debate about how the city deals with its homeless population. A dozen or =
more=20
homeless men and women have congregated on the property day and night, =
setting=20
up sleeping areas on the plaza and keeping mounds of tarpaulin-wrapped=20
belongings with them.=20
<P>Police have received complaints about homeless people pestering =
passers-by,=20
urinating on the outside of the building, fighting with each other and =
using=20
drugs or alcohol.=20
<P>The city this summer began paying for a storage unit elsewhere for =
the=20
library homeless to keep their belongings during the day.=20
<P>In addition, city workers began documenting all the homeless people =
at the=20
library in order to try to help them with such needs as jobs, housing =
and=20
transportation to other cities.=20
<P>Sandy Robinson, the city's director of community relations, who has =
been=20
involved with the assistance effort, called Thursday's attack =
disappointing.=20
<P>"It's sad and tragic, really, that we seem to be making progress with =
these=20
issues on a number of fronts and seem to have outside influences that =
continue=20
to throw up additional hurdles," he said.=20
<P>"This is what appears to be an incident that could have occurred =
virtually=20
anywhere in the city - two individuals get into an altercation and =
something=20
tragic happens. I don't think it has anything to do with them being =
homeless,=20
but it obviously is going to take on that perspective."=20
<P>Robinson said he is familiar with both men, but more so with Jones, =
who had=20
been scheduled to meet Friday with city employees to talk about housing. =
Jones=20
was a regular user of the storage unit - he was there as recently as =
4:30 p.m.=20
Thursday - and has had some "pretty significant interaction" with city=20
employees.=20
<P>Jones, who has a regular income, had stayed at one of the local =
shelters for=20
a couple of weeks within the last month, but then returned to the =
street,=20
Robinson said.=20
<P>He said Jones was soft-spoken and withdrawn, and case managers who =
had talked=20
to him thought the attack seemed out of character.=20
<P>However, arrest records tell a different story.=20
<P>Jones was arrested about 9:30 p.m. June 21 at Ninth and Carpenter =
streets,=20
where he allegedly had attacked a 50-year-old stranger. A witness =
flagged down a=20
patrol officer, who reported he had seen Jones kicking the man multiple =
times in=20
the head and body.=20
<P>When the officer ordered Jones to the ground so he could be arrested, =
Jones=20
allegedly tucked his arms under his body so he couldn't be handcuffed. =
He=20
cooperated after the officer threatened to use pepper spray on him.=20
<P>The victim said he had never seen or talked to Jones before.=20
<P>Jones also was arrested May 18, after he and his girlfriend were =
caught=20
trespassing at St. John's Hospital. According to police, a security =
guard at the=20
hospital about 9 a.m. told Jones and Dorothy J. Valentine, 46, who also =
is=20
homeless, that they had to leave or be arrested for trespassing.=20
<P>Six hours later, the guard found them having sex in a fifth-floor =
restroom=20
and had them arrested.=20
<P>Ward 5 Ald. Sam Cahnman, whose area includes the library, said that =
while he=20
agrees Thursday night's incident could happen anywhere, it's more likely =
to=20
happen where people congregate, which underscores the need to find a =
solution to=20
the homeless problem at the library.=20
<P>Cahnman is drafting an ordinance that would allow a homeless fund =
check-off=20
on all City Water, Light and Power bills. Customers could choose to have =
their=20
bills rounded up to the next dollar, and the difference would be used to =
help=20
the homeless.=20
<P>"I think there's been a lot of improvement recently with the =
introduction of=20
the (storage unit)," Cahnman said. "It seems like there are a lot fewer =
people=20
out on the north end of the library than there used to be."=20
<P>Another ordinance awaiting city council approval would authorize the =
library=20
to spend $18,050 on 16 security cameras to be installed inside and =
outside the=20
building, including in the parking garage. Guards would monitor the =
cameras.=20
<P>"It didn't really have anything to do with the homeless, it's just a =
security=20
thing," said Ernie Slottag, spokesman for the mayor's office. "We have =
them on=20
the other buildings already, and since the library is part of the =
municipal=20
complex, it's only fitting that they have them too."=20
<P>Robinson said he believes the attack will prompt some community =
discussion.=20
<P>"I'm just hoping that, like many tragedies, that something positive =
can come=20
from it," he said.=20
<P>
<P>Jayette Bolinski can be reached at 788-1530 or&nbsp; <A=20
href=3D"mailto:_jayette.bolinski@sj-r.com">_jayette.bolinski@sj-r.com</A>=
.=20
<P>
<P><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT></P></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>William Charles Tinker <BR>New =
Hampshire Homeless=20
<BR>Founded 11-28-99<BR>25 Granite Street <BR>Northfield,N.H. 03276-1640 =
USA=20
<BR>Advocates,activists for disabled,displaced human rights. =
<BR>1-603-286-2492=20
<BR><A =
href=3D"http://www.missingkids.com">http://www.missingkids.com</A> =
<BR><A=20
href=3D"http://www.nationalhomeless.org">http://www.nationalhomeless.org<=
/A>=20
<BR><A=20
href=3D"http://www.newhampshirehomeless.org">http://www.newhampshirehomel=
ess.org</A>=20
<BR><A=20
href=3D"mailto:newhampshirehomeless-subscribe@topica.com">newhampshirehom=
eless-subscribe@topica.com</A>=20
</FONT></DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
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