Man mistakenly released from jail going to prison for 10 years
BY LEEANN SHELTON Staff Reporter December 10, 2013 7:40PM
Steven Derkits / photo from Cook County Sheriff's office
Updated: January 12, 2014 6:37AM
A South Side man who burned his girlfriend with a cigarette, and punched and choked her in a pair of attacks after he was mistakenly released from the Cook County Jail last summer, was sentenced to 10 years in prison Tuesday.
Steven Derkits, 31, pleaded guilty to aggravated battery and attempted murder before Judge Joseph Kazmierski, according to a statement from the Cook County state’s attorney’s office. He was sentenced to 10 years.
Derkits brutally beat the woman — who had previously taken out an order of protection against him — at her residence and at a bar during his inadvertent weeks of freedom, prosecutors said. Derkits, of the 4400 block of South Talman Avenue, had lived with the woman for more than three years.
He was initially jailed July 9 for beating his girlfriend, then fighting with police officers who came to arrest him, according to prosecutors.
However, he was mistakenly released from jail July 30, the same day prosecutors dropped some charges in the case, the Sun-Times reported previously.
Apparently, a Cook County Sheriff’s employee or employees mistakenly believed all charges had been dropped and released Derkits.
The sheriff’s office realized they had released him by mistake when he failed to show up for a court date, and prosecutors wanted to know where he was.
After he was mistakenly released, Derkits “almost immediately” started calling the woman — who had testified against him at a preliminary hearing, prosecutors said.
When they were alone in her apartment on Aug. 17, he punched her in the face because he believed she was cheating on him, then burned her face and neck with a lit cigarette at least four times, according to prosecutors.
He told her he’d kill her, then choked her until she lost consciousness, prosecutors said.
The woman called police after he punched her in the face again three days later outside a bar near 47th and Sacramento, prosecutors said. He was arrested later that day.
Derkits has previous felony convictions for aggravated battery with a weapon, and retail theft. He also has misdemeanor convictions for aggravated assault, domestic battery and retail theft, and has been arrested five times for domestic battery, prosecutors said.