Man accused of punching security guard makes plea in court

FOX 32 NEWS - The man accused of punching a security guard in front of a River North building nine days ago was back in court Tuesday.

Matthew DeLeon told the court new information. He says he'll be in trouble with the Army if he doesn't return to an Army base in Hawaii.

DeLeon declined to talk to reporters as he left the courthouse at Belmont and Western. The 23-year-old is facing three counts of aggravated battery for allegedly punching a female security guard a week ago Sunday outside an apartment building in the River North neighborhood. The guard had found him drunk on the ground and asked him to leave. He threw a punch which broke bones in her face, requiring her to have plastic surgery. After security video of the incident surfaced, DeLeon turned himself in. He showed up Tuesday for a preliminary hearing.

In court, prosecutors indicated there was no need for a preliminary hearing because they plan to seek an indictment in the case.

DeLeon remains free on $250,000 bond. His attorney asked that he be allowed to return to Hawaii where he's stationed at the Schofield Barracks Army base, 17 miles from Honolulu. DeLeon, he said, is a decorated Army specialist who spent nine months in Afghanistan with the 25th infantry. He's now been declared AWOL, which could lead to six months in the stockade and loss of pay. Prosecutors, though, dismissed DeLeon's military record, saying, "It appeared the defendant was in combat that particular evening. He's here to aid people. He left her on the ground like a piece of garbage."

Judge Marvin Luckman denied the request to travel to Hawaii, saying, "How do I know that you will come back here to face the possibility of a long jail term?” Deleon has a flight booked for June 4th. The judge will give him another chance to make his case three days before then.

DeLeon is now checking to see if he can avoid being declared AWOL by reporting to an Army base in Illinois.

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