A second man has been charged with murder in a fatal beating and robbery that happened nearly five years ago in Lincoln Park.
Phillip Brown, 23, was denied bail late last week when he appeared on a charge of first-degree murder at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.
Brown was 18 when he and Marco Alvarado, then 21, beat Jacob Klepacz unconscious while robbing him on April 28, 2014, according to Cook County prosecutors.
About 3:40 a.m. that night, Klepacz, 32, and a friend had left a bar near Wrigleyville and were walking in the 1500 block of West Fullerton Avenue when Brown and Alvarado spotted them as they drove down the street, prosecutors said. They pulled over and allegedly attacked Klepacz and his friend, punching and kicking Klepacz multiple times in the head.
Brown took Klepacz’s cellphone and cash after beating him unconscious and fled with Alvarado in the car, prosecutors said.
Officers responding to a 911 call made by Klepacz’s friend found Klepacz with severe injuries to the front and back of his head, prosecutors said. Klepacz was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Prosecutors said the beating was captured on video surveillance and multiple people identified Brown as the person who beat Klepacz.
Alvarado was charged with murder and robbery two months later, prosecutors said.
Court records show Alvarado pleaded guilty to an amended count of conspiracy to commit murder last year and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
As part of Alvarado’s plea deal, he provided details about the beating and identified Brown as the second offender, prosecutors said.
Brown was arrested in 2015 and charged with robbery, battery and committing a hate crime in a separate case that prosecutors said had many similarities to Klepacz’s killing.
In that case, which Brown pleaded guilty to in 2017, he attacked a man on June 28, 2015 while the man was trying to hail a cab, prosecutors said. Brown approached the man and yelled “Take your gay ass out of here” and beat the man before stealing his phone.
Brown was sentenced to three years in prison on the robbery charge and to four years for the hate crime charge, with the sentences to be served concurrently, prosecutors said.
An assistant public defender for Brown said he has four children and had previously worked in a factory.
Judge Stephanie Miller ordered Brown held without bail, citing the nature of the attack and his “significant” criminal background.
His next court appearance was set for April 25.