A man accused of killing another man last summer in an apparent random attack along the Magnificent Mile had to be removed from his detention hearing Friday after repeated outbursts delayed the proceedings.
Henry Graham, 49, faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of Russell Long on June 29 in the 600 block of North Michigan Avenue.
Cook County prosecutors said Graham approached Long, who was walking with a shopping bag, from behind and struck Long with a closed fist, like someone “throwing a baseball,” causing Long to fall and hit his head on the sidewalk.
After the attack, Graham allegedly stared at the sidewalk where Long fell until he heard the sirens of first responders and walked away.
Two people who saw the attack followed Graham and reported him to officers in a squad car, prosecutors said. Graham was questioned but was never taken into custody, despite allegedly admitting to striking Long during a conversation recorded by the officers’ body-worn cameras.
Long died July 12 of traumatic brain injuries, and his death was ruled a homicide, the Cook County medical examiner’s office reported.
Graham has multiple convictions for battery and assault, prosecutors said.
He was arrested in September for allegedly causing a disturbance by banging on the windows of an Evanston business. He then allegedly bit and kicked officers, leading him to be charged with aggravated battery and released with conditions.
He was charged with battery again in October when he allegedly struck a man walking in Wrigleyville with a broom handle. He was ordered detained in that case, according to court records.
Both of those cases are spending, and Graham was in custody when he was charged Tuesday with Long’s death.
Graham has been diagnosed with mental illness and recently experienced housing instability, an assistant public defender said in court Friday.
Graham repeatedly made outbursts during Friday’s hearing, ignoring instructions from his attorneys and Judge Barbara Dawkins to remain silent.
Graham denied he had committed murder and asked multiple times to be taken to his cell, only to contradict himself and say he wanted to stay in the courtroom.
Dawkins, after repeated warnings that Graham not interrupt the proceedings, said she was ordering him held in direct contempt, and he was removed from the courtroom. After a brief recess, his defense attorneys said they would waive his appearance for the rest of the hearing.
Court records show a criminal contempt charge had not been filed. Graham is scheduled to appear in court next on Nov. 15.