Man beaten unconscious in home in November dies; 80-year-old victim is second fatality in string of attacks


An 80-year-old Baltimore man who was beaten unconscious and left for dead at his home in November died yesterday, the second fatality in a string of attacks on the elderly in four city neighborhoods late last year.

James Chilis, who suffered brain damage and fractured ribs and had at least three surgeries as a result of the Nov. 7 attack, had been in the hospital for all but 10 days of the past 3 1/2 months, his daughter, Connie Tsakiris, said yesterday.

"He suffered so much, between the surgeries, and the IVs and the feeding tubes," said Tsakiris, 47. "It's been horrible. This was a totally independent person, and he ended up losing his dignity over all this."

Tsakiris said Chilis was taken to the emergency room at St. Joseph Hospital early Thursday after he was found unconscious at Manor Care nursing home.

He never regained consciousness, and died around 2 p.m. Friday, Tsakiris said.

Chilis was the seventh and final victim in a series of attacks on senior citizens that began in October when an 82-year-old woman was beaten in the head, tied up with a telephone cord.

One of the victims, Joseph Vowels, 75, who was beaten Oct. 21 in his upholstery shop, died Nov. 2 after being in a coma for nearly two weeks.

Michael P. Stewart, 45, was arrested and charged in November with several of the beatings, but not that of Chilis. At the time, police said Stewart was a suspect in all of the cases.

Detective George Jennings of the robbery unit would not comment other than to say homicide detectives had opened an investigation yesterday involving the Chilis case.

Tsakiris said her father, a Greek immigrant who retired from operating a seafood restaurant called House of Neptune in Dundalk, was living the "American dream."

"This is just so sad," she said. "It's like the 'American nightmare,' is more like it."

Tsakiris said police told her husband that an autopsy would be performed.

Pub Date: 2/20/99

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