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Man dies 3 months after punch by 13-year-old in Oak Park

Sun-Times file photo

A West Side man died Wednesday morning, three months after he was punched in the face by a 13-year-old boy during a fight in west suburban Oak Park.

Joseph Maffris, 60, died at Journey Care Hospice at 9:17 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. He lived in the 1000 block of South Mayfield in Chicago.

An autopsy Thursday found he died of complications from blunt force injuries to the head from an assault, and his death was ruled a homicide.

About 6:25 p.m. June 16, Maffris was punched in the face by the boy during a fight in the 800 block of Lake Street in Oak Park, said David Powers, communications director for the Village of Oak Park.

Officers found Maffris lying on the sidewalk bleeding from the nose, and he was taken to Rush Oak Park Hospital, Powers said. He suffered from “what was described as a small fracture of the orbital bone near the left eye and cranial bleeding.” Investigators said he likely hit his head on the sidewalk when he fell.

Witnesses identified the 13-year-old boy as the person who punched Maffris, he said.

“In response to questioning by the police at the scene, the juvenile said Maffris had tried to sit on the lap of a female friend, which he viewed as inappropriate and he felt compelled to defend her,” Powers said.

The boy was initially charged with misdemeanor battery and released to his guardian, he said.

But later that evening, Maffris’ condition worsened and he was transferred to Rush University Medical Center, Powers said. He was later placed on a ventilator, given a permanent feeding tube, and transferred to Kindred Hospital Chicago-Northlake.

Because Maffris’ condition continued to worsen, the charges against the boy were upgraded to two counts of felony aggravated battery, Powers said. A review of the charges is currently under way as a result of Maffris’ death.