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Prosecutors: homeless man beaten after he was accused of stealing cell phone

A 45-year-old homeless man was strangled, beaten and sodomized by three other vagrants because one of his attackers thought he had stolen his cell phone, Cook County prosecutors said Friday.

After Joseph Kamen was repeatedly stomped on, he was thrown into a Dumpster on the Northwest Side sometime between Monday night and early Tuesday morning, authorities said.

His badly injured body was discovered by a resident the next day.

The deadly attack was initiated after 27-year-old Jake Tate accused Kamen of stealing his mobile phone, Assistant State’s Attorney Colleen Rogers said.

Tate vowed to beat and sodomize Kamen and was later overheard telling his friend Todd Cooper how he was going to stomp on Kamen’s face, Rogers said.

Jake Tate /Chicago Police

When Cooper later saw Kamen sleeping in the doorway of an alley, in the 4800 block of North Lipps Avenue, he summoned Tate and together the pair dragged Kamen’s body into an alley, Rogers said.

There, as Cooper watched, Tate allegedly kicked Kamen’s head, face and body until Kamen wasn’t moving.

Cooper and Tate walked a few feet away to talk to their other pal, Daniel Morris, when Kamen tried getting up, tripping motion sensor lights in the alley, Rogers said.

Upon seeing the lights activated, the trio charged at Kamen and beat him up together, Rogers said.

This time, Cooper, 35, joined Tate in kicking and punching Kamen, Rogers said.

Todd Cooper / Chicago Police

Morris, 20, allegedly punched, choked and sat on Kamen.

That’s when Tate pulled down Kamen’s pants and sodomized him with a stick, Rogers said.

The three men pulled a Dumpster into the alley, threw Kamen inside and then rolled the Dumpster back to its original location, Rogers said.

But they weren’t done, prosecutors said.

Morris climbed in and allegedly stomped on Kamen some more and hit his head and body with a large rock or brick.

The three men then fled, taking Kamen’s backpack with them, Rogers said.

The entire beating was captured on surveillance video from a nearby business and Morris and Cooper allegedly identified themselves on tape and admitted to their roles in the murder.

Morris, who wore a Bears jersey in court Friday, was apprehended this week when police questioned him about an armed robbery.

“I know this is not about the robbery. I know this is about the body in the Dumpster. I was there,” a police report said Morris told cops.

Morris banged his head on the squad car several times as officers arrested him, the report said.

Daniel Morris / Chicago Police

Tate was arrested near the Jefferson Park Transit Center and Cooper was arrested at Wilbur Wright College, a school he frequently visits, their police reports said.

Prosecutors said the three men were homeless but an assistant public defender said Cooper lives with his father.

The former U.S. Marine’s last known address was in Harwood Heights.

Cooper is bipolar and has had past jobs driving a taxi and digging ditches, the assistant public defender said.

Mooris and Tate are suicidal and take medication, the defense attorney said.

Tate, who has several tattoos, including one that reads “100% white,” is a single father and works as a mover.

His last known address was in the 4900 block of West Argyle Street.

Morris’ last lived in Bolingbrook, court records show.

Tate has felony convictions for burglary and aggravated battery.

Morris has three misdemeanor battery convictions and Cooper has a disorderly conduct conviction.

Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil ordered the three men held in lieu of $2 million bail Friday.