Updated 09/21/11 – 4:14 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — A 19-year-old reputed gang member was ordered held without bail on Wednesday for allegedly beating a 14-year-old boy with a metal baseball bat last week, in what authorities said was a case of mistaken identity.
Prosecutors said Esteban Miranda, of the 1600 block of North Maplewood Avenue, went out looking for rival gang members to attack on Sept. 13 when he spotted Brian DeLeon, an innocent high school student on his way home from doing homework with his girlfriend.
Miranda is charged with one count of armed robbery and one count of attempted first degree murder in the attack.
The attack occurred in the 2900 block of West Bloomingdale Avenue in the Logan Square neighborhood near Yates Elementary school, where DeLeon was once a student.
DeLeon had a silver-dollar sized hole in his head from being hit with either a bat or a sledgehammer, and his injuries were so severe, that police initially thought he had been shot.
After savagely beating DeLeon, Miranda also allegedly used a phone number stored in DeLeon’s phone to call DeLeon’s girlfriend and leave her a frightening voice mail message.
Prosecutors said the message was filled with gang slogans affiliated with a rival gang that Miranda thought DeLeon belonged to.
But DeLeon, who is now on a ventilator, was never part of a gang. The judge called Miranda a predator who wanted to get revenge against a rival gang member.
Miranda was denied bond and the judge also ordered Miranda to have no contact with the victim’s family or his fellow gang members.
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Prosecutors said Miranda intentionally went into a rival gang’s territory on the night of Sept. 13. His goal, they said, was to beat up a rival gang member.
Instead, Miranda happened upon DeLeon.
Prosecutors said Miranda was in a car with other fellow gang members. He asked one of them to switch places with him when he was driving, after he drank a bottle of Hennessy. He demanded they drive him to Logan Square.
When he spotted DeLeon, he told the driver to stop. That’s when Miranda approached DeLeon and beat him repeatedly in the head and body with the metal baseball bat, even though DeLeon insisted he was not a gang member, prosecutors said.
Gang members reportedly told Miranda to stop beating Brian DeLeon, 14, with a baseball bat after they realized he wasn’t in a rival gang, the Chicago Tribune reported.
After DeLeon fell to the ground, bleeding profusely, Miranda took the 14-year-old’s cell phone, prosecutors alleged. He went back to the car and called the last number DeLeon had dialed – which was his girlfriend’s number.
Miranda left a message for Diana Vasquez, filled with gang slogans.
Prosecutors said Miranda is no stranger to law enforcement. In 2009, he was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. He was convicted and sentenced to boot camp.
In 2008, Miranda was charged with aggravated DUI. He was convicted and also sentenced to boot camp
Miranda’s family left the courtroom without speaking to reporters.
His attorney, Vincent A. Luisi Jr., said, “My client is presumed innocent and when this case is over, everyone will see that my client is innocent. We do feel bad for Mr. DeLeon’s family. However, my client is not the man who committed this offense.”
Miranda’s attorney also said his client has a job at a car wash and has a fiancée who’s three months pregnant.
The Tribune reported that fellow gang members tipped police to Miranda’s alleged involvement in the beating.
Two other people who were being questioned were released without being charged, according to the Sun-Times Media Wire.
Prosecutors said DeLeon has endured numerous brain surgeries. His chances of recovery and ever leading a normal life again are slim.