Suspect told police he stepped on Girl X's throat to silence screams
Apr. 05, 1997
CHICAGO (AP) _ A convicted sex offender hung his head in silence Friday as police described how he tortured a child known as Girl X, stepping on her throat to stop her screams during a brutal sexual assault and beating.
Patrick Sykes, 25, also admitted spraying roach killer into the 9-year-old's mouth to destroy evidence before leaving her unconscious in a filthy stairwell, police said at his bail hearing.
Details of the attack drew gasps from those in the courtroom.
After giving his name in a barely audible voice, Sykes hung his head and remained silent. Judge William Maki set bond at $6 million.
A tip phoned in to police led to Sykes' arrest. He was charged Thursday with sexual assault, kidnapping, predatory sexual assault and heinous battery, among other charges.
Girl X, whose mother has asked that her name be withheld, was attacked as she walked home through the crime-ridden Cabrini-Green public housing project on Jan. 9 after sleeping over at a friend's house.
Sykes told police that he watched Girl X approach, then grabbed the 4-foot-8, 64-pound fourth grader and pulled her inside his girlfriend's apartment, prosecutor Thomas E. Epach Jr. told the judge.
Sykes told police he submitted the child to a series of agonizing sexual violations that caused her to scream and whimper, Epach said.
``She kept screaming, so he tried to choke her,'' Epach said. When that failed to silence her, the prosecutor quoted Sykes as saying that he threw her to the floor ``and began to step on her throat.''
``The little girl stopped screaming,'' Epach said.
But Sykes told detectives he was worried he might have left evidence linking him to the assault.
``So he found a spray can, a can of roach spray,'' Epach said. ``He sprayed the contents of the can into her mouth ... she began spitting up like a baby.''
Seeing no witnesses, Sykes then dumped the girl in a stairwell, marking her body with the initials ``G.D.'' and other symbols to deflect suspicion onto the Gangster Disciples street gang, Epach said. Authorities said Sykes has no gang affiliation.
The girl remained unconscious for a month, receiving hundreds of bedside visits. The city rallied around her; an outpouring of charity raised nearly $500,000 for her medical bills.
Although she was blinded by the attack, and still can't speak, this week she spontaneously laughed, smiled and cried, and was able to nod her head to questions. Doctors do not yet know her long-term prognosis.
Family and friends are planning a small party in the hospital on Monday _ one day after her 10th birthday.
Epach said there may be additional charges against Sykes.
Sykes was in jail from 1991 through 1993 for the attempted sexual assault of a 17-year-old girl in the hallway of another housing project. Epach said Sykes took the girl's jewelry at knifepoint and was removing his clothes when she escaped.
The next day, Sykes was bothering a 10-year-old girl when her father restrained him and summoned police. Epach said Sykes was then charged with robbing and attacking the 17-year-old.
Sykes was paroled in 1993 and discharged from parole in April 1996.
Police said he had neither registered as a convicted sex offender nor been notified of the requirement, which went into effect Jan. 1, 1996.