Prosecutors: Man charged in Boystown attack threw first punch

Darren Hayes

The man who was charged in connection with a recorded mob attack in Boystown last weekend was the one seen on video throwing the first punch at the victim, prosecutors said in court today.

Darren Hayes was ordered held in lieu of $700,000 bail in a Cook County court hearing.

Prosecutors also told Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil they expect the charges agaisnt Hayes -- currently aggravated battery and mob action -- will be upgraded to attempted murder when the case is brought before a grand jury.

Assistant State's Attorney Lorraine Scaduto said Hayes, of Hammond, was walking with a group of eight to 10 others in the 3300 block of North Halsted Street when they passed the 25-year-old victim, who was walking in the opposite direction with two companions.

Someone from Hayes' group made a comment to someone in the victim's group as they passed, and when the victim turned he was suddenly surrounded by Hayes and the others, Scaduto said. 

Hayes then punched the victim in the face, causing him to fall backward, the prosecutor said. His group then surrounded the victim and kicked and stomped him, and when he managed to get up they followed him into the street, where the beating continued, Scaduto said.

When he finally broke free from the attackers, the victim noticed he had been stabbed multiple times, Scaduto said.

Police credited a YouTube video of the attack posted by witnesses with helping to identify those involved in the attack; an "anonymous source" then led detectives to Hayes, authorities said.

"Technology definitely played a big role because we definitely wouldn't have had the images without the people who recorded them," Belmont Area Sgt. Debra DeYoung said at a news conference this morning.

She said investigators also used Facebook. 

Other witnesses also identified Hayes in a lineup.

DeYoung also noted that people in the YouTube video are seen taking pictures or videotaping the melee on their cell phones. She encouraged them to come forward.

Prosecutors said investigators found two knives in Hayes' home, and he admitted to detectives he had both weapons with him the night of the attack.

A court-appointed attorney said Hayes has lived in the Chicago area since moving from Georgia six years ago.

Several of Hayes' family members claimed that the charges were "lies" as they left the courthouse, but they would not comment further on the case.

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