Four Years After Charges Dropped, Soldier Still Trying To Clear His Name
CHICAGO (CBS) – A local Iraq War veteran has been trying to clear his name, after he was accused of attacking a family member.
As CBS 2’s Pamela Jones reports, Army National Guard Maj. Christopher Bonds said he was simply caring for his wife’s elderly aunt – who suffers from dementia, and often became confused – when he was wrongly accused of aggravated assault in 2008.
For the past four years, Bonds has been engaged in the fight of his life – against accusations he battered his wife’s 92-year-old aunt.
“I was completely and totally traumatized,” Bonds said.
His wife’s aunt, Susie Smith, had dementia and, according to Bonds, one day in May of 2008 she flung off into a violent tirade from her wheelchair.
Earlier that day, she had been hallucinating and was swearing in front of his daughter, so he’d wheeled Smith out of the room.
“I came back bout 10 minutes later, just to check on her, got her something to drink, and my aunt just began yelling, and I was standing next to the side of her, and she reached over, and she elbowed me in the groin,” he said. “I was so surprised. … I mean, I didn’t even know what to think. But then, within seconds, my aunt had stood up, and started swinging on me. And she had hit me several times.”
Bonds said he held her arms and called 911. A police report dated five days after the incident said Smith told officers Bonds elbowed her in the chest and “twisted her head” with both hands.
Bonds was arrested and indicted, but the case was later dismissed. He immediately filed to erase his rap sheet, but the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office has denied his request.
It left his military career, and his family, in trouble.
“I was unemployed for 18 months. My security clearance was locked down for 18 months. I had to liquidate everything that we had,” Bonds said. “It was only by the grace of God that we were not in a shelter, that my home was not foreclosed on, that my cars were not repossessed.”
Cook county Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown said it should have been a simple matter to have Bonds’ criminal case expunged, because prosecutors dismissed the case and he didn’t have any previous criminal record.
This year, Brown’s office helped thousands of people wipe their records clean.
“We have 20,000 that have been granted. So it’s wonderful that the judges are clearing the docket, making sure that they are getting to these cases,” she said.
The state’s attorney’s office stated it wanted to preserve the records in the case, so it couldn’t agree to expunge his record.
But bonds ended up suing the city – a suit he said led to a stronger position for him in an upcoming hearing to clear his record. That hearing is scheduled for next week.