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Pilsen man accused of cutting landlord's neck

Published: Monday, Oct. 8, 2012 9:12 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — A Pilsen man with no apparent criminal record allegedly slit his landlord's throat Friday in what prosecutors described as a dispute about unpaid rent.

Oscar Hernandez, 22, of the 1800 block of South Allport Street, appeared in Cook County Bond Court on Sunday charged with attempted first-degree murder.

Hernandez and the landlord, a 42-year-old man, met outside the apartment on Allport, and the fight about the rent ensued, according to prosecutors and police reports. The victim said Hernandez, "armed with a knife, cut the victim's throat and stabbed him about the body and hands," according to police reports.

Prosecutors said Hernandez gave a statement to police admitting that he cut his landlord's throat.

But an attorney representing Hernandez said his client stated he was coerced into making false statements with promises of a shorter prison sentence.

"We don't know all the facts," attorney Charles Lauer said. "(Hernandez) has never been in trouble. These charges are something that is completely out of character."

The landlord, who needed 30 stitches in his neck, remained in the hospital Sunday, prosecutors said. The defendant, who was also taken to the hospital, appeared in court with three fingers bandaged.

"He said there was a struggle," Lauer said. "I think a fight occurred ... (and) the landlord got the worst of it."

In trying to persuade the judge to set a "reasonable" bail, the attorney said Hernandez has run the Chicago Marathon three times and he had never been in trouble with police before.

With family members seated behind him, Hernandez hung his head as the judge set his bail at $500,000.

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