New charges have been filed in connection with the fatal beating and robbery of a homeless man near a South Loop shelter after one of the men charged in the case agreed to testify against two others, according to prosecutors.
Ernest Mitchell, 47, appeared in court Wednesday on charges of first-degree murder and armed robbery in the death of 47-year-old Curtis Sanderbeck.
Previously charged were Larry Jones, 53, and Bernard Bashum, 27, who both pleaded not guilty to eight counts of murder in the case when they were arraigned in February last year, according to court records.
In March, court records show Jones pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of armed robbery and prosecutors said he agreed to testify against Mitchell and Bashum.
On July 17, 2017, all four men were staying at the Pacific Garden Mission, when Mitchell, Jones and Bashum learned Sanderbeck was carrying “a large amount of cash,” according to prosecutors.
They lured Sanderbeck to a concrete wall about a block from the mission in the 1200 block of South Canal Street with the intention of robbing him, according to prosecutors. Mitchell grabbed Sanderbeck when he tried to run and shoved him, causing Sanderbeck to hit his head on the wall and fall to the ground. Bashum then allegedly stomped on Sanderbeck with his feet and struck Sanderbeck with a piece of wood the group had stashed behind the wall.
Jones eventually stepped in to stop the beating and the three men went through Sanderbeck’s pockets and split up the proceeds of the robbery, prosecutors said. A witness who saw the men go behind the wall with Sanderbeck later found him unconscious and called 911.
Sanderbeck was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he died of his injuries the following month.
Jones was found in possession of $170 and Sanderbeck’s phone, prosecutors said, and investigators recovered bloody socks and pants from Bashum that matched Sanderbeck’s DNA.
Mitchell, Jones and Bashum were further identified by witness statements and by footage recorded by security cameras in the area, prosecutors said.
An assistant public defender for Mitchell said he was a high school graduate, was disabled and had two adult children.
Judge Mary Marubio ordered Mitchell held without bail and scheduled his next court appearance for May 13.