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Prosecutors: Teens In Fatal Attack Were Playing “Knock ‘Em Out” Game

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Delfino Mora died after being beaten in an alley. (family handout)

Delfino Mora died after being beaten in an alley. (family handout)

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Updated 07/16/12 – 2:18 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – Three teens accused of attacking a man in a West Rogers Park alley and posting video of the fatal beating online were allegedly playing a game called “pick ‘em out and knock ‘em out.”

As WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports, at a bond hearing for two of the suspects, Cook County prosecutors said the youngest of the trio – 16-year-old Malik Jones – was the instigator of the attack. Jones allegedly turned on his cell phone’s video camera before handing it to 17-year-old Nicholas Ayala and 18-year-old Anthony Malcolm while he attacked a man who was searching for scrap metal.

Prosecutors said the defendants were playing a game called “pick ‘em out, and knock ’em out,” in which they identify a random victim and beat him with their fists, then rob him.

Prosecutors said Malik started recording the video on his cell phone, then declared, “I think I’m going to knock out this man,” before attacking Mora.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports

Jones was arrested on Saturday after the video of the attack was posted on his own Facebook page. Prosecutors said all three young men laughed about the attack on the video.

The three young men are all charged with first-degree murder, and have been ordered held without bail. Jones appeared in court Sunday. Ayala and Malcolm were in court Monday.

anthony malcolm and nicholas ayala 0715 Prosecutors: Teens In Fatal Attack Were Playing Knock Em Out Game

Anthony Malcolm, 18 (left), and Nicholas Ayala, 17, (right) are charged with first-degree murder in the death of 62-year-old Delfino Mora. A mugshot for a third defendant, 16-year-old Malik Jones, was not available due to Jones’ age. (Credit: Chicago Police Department)

They are accused of killing 62-year-old Delfino Mora, as he was collecting cans in an alley behind the 6300 block of North Artesian Avenue last Tuesday, trying to make some money for his family of 12 children.

Malcolm allegedly videotaped the beating.

His sister, Stephanie, was in court at his bond hearing on Monday.

“My brother is a good person,” she said. “He go to school, he get good grades. … He gots a job. He don’t get into trouble, he just was at the wrong place, with the wrong people,” she said.

Police said the three teenagers attacked Mora while he was in the alley around 5 a.m. last Tuesday. They allegedly asked Mora what he had in his pockets, then Jones punched him in the jaw.

Mora fell and hit his head on the concrete during the attack. He was taken to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, where he died the next day.

An autopsy determined Mora died of blunt head trauma.

A witness spotted the video on Jones’ Facebook page and forwarded it to a second witness, who identified Jones as the person who battered him in a separate incident June 30, prosecutors said.

“I feel that’s horrible, that’s pitiful,” the victim’s grandson, Leo Plata said. “You had the nerve to do it, and then you’re going to have the nerve to upload it? That’s like making fun of it.

“You’re jumping an old man and think it’s a prize to be proud of?” he continued. “That’s nothing to be proud of.”

The witnesses contacted police, who arrested Jones in south suburban Orland Hills on Saturday and recovered the cell phone with the video of Mora’s attack, prosecutors said.

The video shows Mora’s head hitting the pavement with a loud crack, prosecutors said. The Facebook video has since come down.

Jones, of the 2400 block of West Thorndale Avenue, allegedly confessed his role in the attack to police.

Even though he was disabled, and unable to work, Mora’s family said he wanted to help provide for his family of 12 children and 23 grandchildren. Collecting old pop cans and scrap metal was one way he could do so.

“He was a very hardworking man. He didn’t have to tell me; like, just looking around – raising four kids on his own. That’s enough to know that he was a hardworking man,” Mora’s grandson, Leo Plata said.

Mora’s family said he was disabled after a workplace accident 15 years ago, which left him unable to use his right arm.

The family planned to bury Mora in Mexico, where he is from.

This was at least the third time over the past year that a Chicago attack was videotaped and shared on social media — leading to an arrest of one or more teens.

This past November, Scotty Strahan, 18, of Chicago, was arrested on a charge of aggravated battery, after video was posted on the Web site WorldStarHipHop.com, of him allegedly punching a 56-year-old homeless man on the Chicago Avenue CTA Red Line subway platform in April of last year.

And in January, a 17-year old Cook County sheriff’s deputy’s son and six other teens were arrested for allegedly beating another teen in Bridgeport after a video of the attack was posted on YouTube.

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