An Arlington Heights male jail inmate with advanced cancer, who was awaiting trial for his second bar fight, died Tuesday May 5, 2020 after being admitted to Stroger Hospital with COVID-19 symptoms in April 2020.
William Sobczyk, 53, who formerly lived in the block of 0-99 North Belmont Avenue near Recreation Park was being held without bond since his arrest January 3, 2019. The arrest involved his second bar fight since 2014 when he was convicted and paroled for aggravated battery at a bar on the northwest side. He was allegedly involved in the second bar fight at a bar that was also on the northwest side of Chicago. Sobczyk also claimed residency on Diversey Avenue in the City of Chicago.
In his first bar fight, Sobczyk was convicted of aggravated battery after he attacked a man outside the Two Way Bar and Grill (now permanently closed) on Elston Avenue. The victim suffered permanent disability.
While awaiting trial for the January 2019 bar fight, Sobczyk had been in failing health in recent months, suffering from advanced cancer that had spread to his liver, a lung, bones, and brain before his death, according to the activist group ‘Chicago Community Bond Fund’ that collects funds and posts bond money to free people from Cook County Jail. Although Sobczyk was suffering from advanced cancer, the Chicago Community Bond Fund group claimed the title “Another Life Needlessly Lost to COVID-19 at Cook County Jail” in a post on their official website. Sobczyk had been incarcerated in the Cermak Health Center inside the jail, and was the seventh person to die from COVID-19 while in the custody of Cook County Jail, according to the Chicago Community Bond Fund.
Since April 18, 2020 Sobczyk was admitted at Stroger Hospital for complications related to COVID-19.
Sobczyk was scheduled for a special bond reduction hearing on Tuesday, May 5, 2020. Officials from Cermak Health Services had submitted a letter on his behalf with a second request for “compassionate release” because of his poor health and prognosis. The first request was April 6, 2020.
Sobczyk is one of 285 detainees at the Cook County jail who contracted COVID-19, according to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.
Two Cook County Sheriff’s Office employees have died and 112 correctional officers and 31 other Cook County Sheriff’s employees have tested positive, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.
At the time of Sobczyk’s January 2019 arrest, he was on parole for a 2014 aggravated battery involving the attack of a man over 60 years-old at Two Way Bar and Grill. Sobczyk was convicted of aggravated battery, but the court had ruled that the the state failed to prove that Sobczyk knew his victim was 60 years of
age or older at the time of the offense. The 60-over count of aggravated battery was vacated.
According to court records, Sobczyk, and his 63-year-old victim, and the victim’s girlfriend were at the Two Way Bar and Grill. The couple had some beer and a “few shots” when Sobczyk approached to discuss a job. The two discussed money, and Sobczyk was not happy with the amount that the victim was going to pay him for a job. Sobczyk gave the victim a one hundred dollar bill which the victim placed in his pocket. Sobczyk then suggested a game where he placed a hundred dollar bill on his forehead and told the victim, if the victim could grab the bill, the victim could keep the money. The victim, believing that Sobczyk was joking, grabbed the money from defendant’s forehead and placed it in his pocket. Sobczyk hugged the victim and asked him to come outside so that he could tell him something. Once outside, Sobczyk told Anderson that he was going to “kick his a**” and began punching the victim in his face. The victim fell to the ground and tried to cover his head while Sobczyk began “stomping” his face with steel-toe work boots.
Sobczyk walked up to the victim and pointed his finger in his face and said “next time it will be to the death.”
Sobczyk, who people at the bar knew as Billy, returned inside the bar alone with blood on his hands, and told the victim’s girlfriend, “go outside and look at your man now.” The victim’s girlfriend went outside and found her boyfriend on the ground, unrecognizable with facial injuries.
Chicago Fire Department paramedics were dispatched and the victim spent three days in intensive care and two additional days recovering in the hospital, suffering a broken nose, a broken jaw, and an orbit fracture with his eye socket “caved in.” All three injuries required surgery. The victim also suffered a concussion and required 20 stitches to close his wounds.
The victim suffered permanent disability with partial blindness in his left eye, dizzy spells and memory problems.
Sobczyk was convicted of aggravated battery and sentenced to five years in prison.
In the second bar fight in January 2019, a male victim was blinded in one eye, required 40 stitches and suffered permanent hearing loss in one ear.
Sobczyk’s autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday May 5, 2020.
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