A Chicago man remains in custody Friday after violating a judge's order that he stay out of Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on the city's Near North Side.
That man, 41-year-old Willie Wright, has a long criminal history, including a series of incidents in Andersonville during the last year. Earlier this summer, Cook County Judge Donald Panarese barred him from a large section of the neighborhood, but on August 20th he was arrested again after grabbing a woman as she emerged from a ride-sharing vehicle near Belmont and Foster.
“This is the third time he’s been arrested since the year started,” says 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman. “Every time he gets out he goes out and commits these offenses against women, and as a community perspective, we want to make sure he’s not on our streets.
Wright appeared in a Grand Avenue courtroom Friday morning, heavily shackled at the waist and wearing an olive green jail jumpsuit.
“I thought you were going to stay away,” Judge Panarese thundered from the bench. “Nobody here likes that you’re in jail, but nobody here likes that you’re in that area!”
As attorneys discussed options to have Wright undergo evaluations for mental fitness and drug or alcohol abuse, he became agitated.
“What makes them right and me wrong?” he asked the judge. “I can represent myself!”
When public defender Susan Matyus noted that she wanted to speak to Wright about whether he was taking his medication, her client interrupted.
“Nothing mentally wrong with me at all,” he shouted. “I don’t take psych meds!”
Prosecutor Matthew Jannusch noted the presence of the alderman and numerous community residents in the courtroom.
“He promised you he would not go back in that area again---now he has returned,” he told the judge. “The community is in fear of this defendant.”
On the streets in Andersonville, numerous residents agreed that Wright has become well-known for the repeated incidents.
“Willie Wright has really been terrorizing the community for quite a while,” resident Revolution MacInnes told NBC5. “It shouldn’t be hard for the judge or whoever has the jurisdiction here to determine that the guy needs some help.”
No decision was made on whether Wright would remain in jail pending a trial. His next court date is set for September 27th.