After spending more than two weeks in jail, the Marine Corps veteran charged with fatally stabbing a man outside Richard’s Bar was set granted bail Monday.
Thomas Tansey, 31, had been ordered held without bail earlier this month after he allegedly slashed 23-year-old Kenneth Paterimos with a boxcutter during a fight in front of the West Town tavern on Feb. 21.
On Monday, Cook County Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke granted Tansey $250,000 bail after his attorney argued that witnesses said Paterimos had been on top of Tansey, pummeling the larger man, before he was stabbed, and that no witness had seen the Tansey inflict the fatal wounds.
Witnesses told police Tansey had been drinking alone at the bar for several hours when he began arguing with Paterimos, a barista who had been at the bar with friends. The two men scuffled inside the bar and had to be separated after coming to blows. Tansey was thrown out, but was overheard making a threat to rip out Paterimos’ nose ring, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said. After Tansey was tossed out, Murphy said, Paterimos told his friends he was going after Tansey to “kick [Tansey’s] ass.”
Without conceding that Tansey had inflicted the wounds that killed Paterimos, defense attorney Sam Amirante said the evidence cited by prosecutors showed Tansey, the veteran of two tours in Afghanistan, was defending himself.
“[Paterimos] storms out of the bar with another person... in tow, Mr. Tansey is walking down the street, minding his own business and this alleged victim [Paterimos] jumps him from behind, tackles him,” Amirante told the judge.
Paterimos’ friends and family members have said that Tansey had made homophobic remarks about Paterimos, but prosecutors have not mentioned any such slurs in evidence. Tansey was held by police and questioned in February, but was released without being charged, Amirante said.
Days later, two witnesses who had seen the fistfight outside the bar came forward, prompting prosecutors to move forward with murder charges, Murphy said.
Employees from a nearby bar saw Paterimos standing over Tansey and pummeling him before being pulled away by his [Paterimos’] friend. They then saw Paterimos running off with Tansey chasing him with a knife and Paterimos “spurting” blood from his arm as he ran back to Richard’s, Murphy said. Paterimos suffered wounds to the back of his head, shoulder and back, and the brachial artery in his arm was slashed —a fatal wound, Murphy said.
The only witness who had been close enough to see how Paterimos was stabbed — the friend who pulled the two men apart — told investigators he had no memory of the fight. Surveillance video shows Tansey chasing after Paterimos along a path that was traced with Paterimos’ blood, Murphy said, but not the brawl.
“It’s unclear how he was stabbed, from what I’m hearing from both sides,” Lyke said. “Based on everything I’ve heard, this court finds the proof is not evident” to support holding Tansey without bail.
Tansey’s family would be able to come up with the $25,000 to post his bond, Amirante said.