A man who was accused of choking/strangling an 8-year-old girl in a women's bathroom has been sentenced after he pleaded guilty in Chicago. His sentence was 30 months of probation. The girl survived and the sentence could be due to his mental condition.
This is a story we reported on back in 2016 and it had numerous people stating their opinion about having men in the women's room, but now we find out the suspect might have a mental condition that played a part in the sad story.
According to the latest report in the Chicago Sun Times, the defendant, Reese Hartstirn, has been labeled as mentally ill.
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A mentally ill man was sentenced to 30 months of probation Thursday after he pleaded guilty to choking an 8-year-old girl unconscious inside a bathroom of a South Loop deli.
Reese Hartstirn’s plea comes after days of testimony in a bench trial that had been stretched over several months at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.
Days before the girl’s mother found Hartstirn attacking her daughter in May 2016, Hartstirn had been hearing voices and experiencing visions and paranoid delusions, according to Cook County court records.
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He is now 37 and required to participate in continued psychiatric care during his probation. He has court records that show numerous hospitalizations and a "declining mental state" prior to the attack.
Before the attack, Hartstirn, a project manager for a construction company, went to get supplies from a hardware store, bought a crate of bottled water, and sat in the store and spent what he thought might have been several hours contemplating the various “signs” he had encountered in recent days, court records said.
He then drove around, returning to the house he’d been working on after dark, and locked himself inside, fearing “evil spirits” he believed were circling the house.
Hartstirn’s boss found him at the site, and took him to get something to eat at a South Loop sandwich shop.
This is where the situation gets fuzzy with the men's room and women's room issues. According to the story, Hartstirn went into the women's room by mistake and got scared when he saw a girl in there, and started choking her. So in theory, the man was not in the women's restroom on purpose, but by mistake, but he still choked a young girl and that's the biggest crime in this situation.
In my opinion, that's certainly not what people usually do when they walk into the wrong restroom and see someone of the opposite sex. Usually they think to themselves, "oh, sorry about that" and walk out. Not in this case, as the article shows.
There, Hartstirn wandered into the women’s restroom, thinking it was a men’s room, to hide in a stall when he saw the girl.
Overcome with fear, Hartstirn grabbed the girl and covered her mouth when she screamed, then began choking her, releasing her only after her eyes closed, according to court records.
The girl's mom busted into the stall and Hartstirn sat next to his boss until the police arrived.
At the station, Hartstirn allegedly stripped naked and tried to urinate on officers in the lockup.
Court records indicate that Hartstirn was hospitalized for days after his arrest.
And now, probation.