Family of Elgin 18-year-old stabbed to death in Schaumburg decries lack of murder charge
The family of an unarmed Elgin teen fatally stabbed during a fight Tuesday in Schaumburg has been further heartbroken over the Cook County state's attorney's office's decision not to file murder charges against the 17-year-old defendant despite a recommendation from Schaumburg police.
Prosecutors have instead filed a misdemeanor charge of unlawful use of a weapon in the stabbing death of 18-year-old Manuel Porties Jr.
"After an extensive review of the available information presented to us, including a discussion with the Schaumburg Police Department, we determined that the evidence was insufficient to meet our burden of proof to file murder charges," the state's attorney's office said in a statement Friday. "As prosecutors, we have both an ethical and legal obligation to make charging decisions based on the evidence, facts, and the law."
The victim's father, Manuel Porties Sr., and others gathered at the Rolling Meadows courthouse Friday to protest the decision. He said he believes the state's attorney's office is misinterpreting his son as an equal aggressor in the fight based on an incorrect assumption that there's more preceding what was captured by a bystander's video.
He also said he believes that prosecutors having a limited amount of time to charge a juvenile suspect in custody caused a rush to judgment before other evidence showing his son being threatened on social media could be subpoenaed.
"The state's attorney's office needs to reopen this case and talk to all the parties involved in this and reevaluate the video that they have," Porties Sr. said.
Schaumburg police Sgt. Karen McCartney said her department recommended murder charges to prosecutors after a thorough investigation and was standing by its findings Friday.
"We believe that murder charges were appropriate in this case," McCartney said.
In their statement, state's attorney's officials detailed efforts to explain their decision to the Porties family.
"The CCSAO is committed to the work of justice, and we met with the victim's family during this difficult time, to ensure that they were aware of our decision and why the evidence did not support the filing of criminal charges," the statement reads.
But Porties Sr. said his contact with prosecutors has only strengthened his belief that insufficient time has been spent on gathering evidence.
"He followed my son and was taunting him on social media," Porties Sr. said of the other teen. "He was hunting my son like he was a piece of meat."
Porties Sr. explained that his son and the other boy had once been part of the same group of friends, but they had been at odds in recent months.
Though Porties Sr. learned that a fight between the two had been agreed to, no weapons were to be used, he said. Even those present -- including the person who recorded the fight -- did not spot the knife until it was too late, he said.
Schaumburg police responded to a 911 call about two people fighting on the 600 block of Sturnbridge Lane at about 6 p.m. Tuesday. They discovered Porties Jr. suffering from multiple stab wounds. They confirmed he was unarmed.
By that time, the other teen had fled, police said.
Schaumburg police officers and paramedics performed lifesaving measures at the scene, but Porties died from his injuries at Amita Health Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village.
The suspect had been located by Wednesday morning, when police announced that he was in custody and that the state's attorney's office was reviewing the facts of Schaumburg's investigation. The suspect is no longer in custody, police said.