A man accused of setting a homeless man on fire in an unprovoked attack was out on bail and was wanted by police for violating the bail conditions at the time of the alleged incident.
Joseph Guardia, 27, has been charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated arson with bodily harm after allegedly setting 75-year-old Joseph Kromelis, a well known homeless man known to locals as “The Walking Man”, on fire while he slept next to Chicago’s Trump Tower last week.
CWB Chicago reported Tuesday that Guardia was wanted by police for violating conditions of a bond agreement that released him back onto the streets despite being charged with felony crimes.
Guardia was charged with felony burglary and identity theft in March 2020 and released on his own recognizance on the same day. Roughly a week later, Guardia was charged in another burglary and was given a recognizance bond for the new charge by Judge Ramon Ocasio but was ordered to be held without bond for violating the conditions of his previous arrangement.
In April of 2020, Judge Gregory Vazquez reversed the no-bail hold and allowed Guardia to be released for a $500 bail deposit.
Guardia then failed to show up for a hearing in February of 2021 prompting Judge Ocasio to sign two arrest warrants but police were unable to locate him until he was arrested for allegedly lighting Kromelis on fire.
Guardia was also previously convicted of felonies in 2018 related to a retail theft and robbery case.
Guardia is the 22nd person in Chicago this year to be accused of killing, shooting, or trying to shoot and kill another person while awaiting trial for a felony charge, according to CWB Chicago.
Kromelis was taken to the hospital and is in critical condition with burns on 65% of his body and doctors have expressed doubt he will survive the attack.
“But for a miracle, this will soon be a first-degree murder case,” Assistant State’s Attorney Danny Hanichak said. “It takes a special kind of evil to do what this defendant did.”
The Cook County State’s Attorney Office, led by Kim Foxx, declined to comment on “pending litigation” when contacted by Fox News Digital.
In Cook County, prosecutors present all available information to judges regarding the criminal history of offenders and judges make the final determination on bail conditions.
The Trump Tower attack comes as crime has been surging in Chicago in a trend that continued through the Memorial Day weekend.
52 people were shot over the holiday weekend including ten people who were shot fatally, Fox 32 Chicago reported. The shootings represented the most violent Memorial Day holiday weekend in five years.