Skip to contents
Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards

New Details — And Witnesses — Emerge In Richard’s Bar Stabbing Case

Kenny Paterimos and Thomas Tansey were seen fighting outside Richard's Bar before the stabbing, prosecutors said.

Thomas Tansey (right) has been charged with murder in the slaying of Kenneth Paterimos. On Tuesday, Paterimos' family and friends gathered outside Richard's Bar (left).
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago and Provided
  • Credibility:

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — The Marine veteran charged with murdering a Pilsen barista fought with the victim inside and outside Richard’s Bar in River West before slashing him to death, prosecutors alleged in court Thursday.

And while the suspect, Tom Tansey, 30, has claimed self-defense, a Cook County judge said the wounds in Kenny Paterimos’ back don’t suggest mutual combat.

Judge Charles Beach then ordered Tansey held without bail during the hearing.

Tansey stabbed Paterimos, a gay Latino man, Feb. 21 outside Richard’s Bar, 491 N. Milwaukee Ave. The case has garnered widespread attention.

Tansey told police after being arrested on the scene he stabbed Paterimos in self-defense. But Beach noted most of Paterimos’ stab wounds were to his back. Beach also said Tansey has a history of violence.

There is no surveillance video showing the stabbing, officials said.

“My family is just thankful that he wasn’t given a bond,” Kenny’s brother, Anthony Paterimos, said after the hearing. “Now we’re leaving this case in God’s hands as well as the prosecutors’. I’m glad he’s off the streets. It gives some peace of mind that he won’t be able to do this to someone else or harass anybody in my family.”

During Thursday’s hearing at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse, prosecutors painted a picture of a bar fight that spilled outside, resulting in a confused series of events and the eventual death of Paterimos, who suffered a slashed artery.

Prosecutors said Tansey, who was “severely intoxicated,” was at the bar when he and Paterimos got into a fight, fell to the floor and had to be separated. Witnesses were unclear on who started the fight, prosecutors said.

Afterward, witnesses said they heard Tansey say he would rip out Paterimos’ nose ring, and Tansey was escorted out of the bar, prosecutors said.

Paterimos stayed inside Richard’s for a short time, but he was angry and friends were trying to calm him down, prosecutors said. One witness told prosecutors he heard Paterimos say he was going to go outside and beat up Tansey.

After that, Paterimos went outside and was followed by one of his friends.

Two people working at a nearby bar were outside and saw Paterimos and Tansey argue and then get into a fistfight, prosecutors said. One witness told prosecutors he saw Paterimos standing over Tansey, punching him, while Tansey held his hands over his face.

Paterimos’ friend pulled him away from Tansey, prosecutors said, and Paterimos struggled with his friend and they fell to the ground.

Paterimos then got up and ran while Tansey chased him, prosecutors said. One witness saw Paterimos holding his bleeding arm as he ran past and back into Richard’s Bar. Tansey stayed outside.

Two witnesses, including Paterimos’ brother, left the bar to see Tansey holding a knife and walking away, prosecutors said.

Paterimos’ brother, Santiago “Julian” Bueno, stopped Tansey and disarmed him until police arrived. Officers found a blood-covered knife where witnesses said Tansey had left it, prosecutors said.

Paterimos was taken to Stroger Hospital and pronounced dead. He was stabbed in the back of his head, his right ear, the middle of his back, his right clavicle and his right arm — which severed an artery and turned out to be the fatal wound.

The friend of Paterimos who had come outside with him was also stabbed. He has no memory of what happened outside the bar, prosecutors said.

Credit: Colin Boyle/ Block Club Chicago
A protester sets up a memorial for slain barista Kenny Paterimos outside Richard’s Bar as Chicago Police officers look on.

‘He’s Innocent’

In the days following the stabbing, witnesses told police Tansey had used a homophobic slur towards Paterimos, police said. Later, police said they were investigating allegations of a racial slur. But during court Thursday, prosecutors had no evidence of either slur being used.

Defense attorney Sam Amirante, addressing the media outside the courtroom, repeatedly described Tansey as a victim.

“He was attacked and simply was defending himself,” Amirante said. “He’s innocent.

“He’s remorseful about what happened, his family is remorseful. It’s a very sad thing. It’s certainly traumatic for both families.”

Amirante would not say what the initial fight was about or who owned the box cutter found on the scene, but he said Tansey suffered from PTSD and had been hospitalized prior to his arrest Wednesday.

“He was a Marine and did two tours of duty in Afghanistan, very traumatic stuff,” Amirante said, adding “everyone knew where he was” in the days after his release and Tansey had been cooperative with the police.

Paterimos’ family has criticized the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and Chicago Police for initially letting Tansey go and for not keeping them informed about the case.

Paterimos’ father, Kenneth Paterimos, said he learned of Tansey’s arrest Wednesday from news reports.

About 100 family, friends and supporters of Paterimos gathered outside Richard’s Bar on Tuesday.


Man Accused In Richard’s Bar Stabbing Of Kenny Paterimos Arrested, Due In Court Thursday

With Alleged Killer Walking Free, 100 People Gather At Richard’s Bar To Demand Justice For Slain Barista

Man Wanted In Richard’s Bar Stabbing Harassed UIC Students On His Block, Impersonated Police, They Say

Ex-Marine Wanted On Murder Charge In Richard’s Bar Stabbing Has A Criminal Record, Remains At Large

Warrant Issued For Man Who Killed Pilsen Barista Outside Richard’s Bar, Police Say

‘Justice For Kenny’ Protest Planned Outside Richard’s Bar, Where Barista Was Stabbed To Death

Brother Of Slain Barista Tackled Killer After He Stabbed His Little Brother: ‘This Isn’t … Self Defense’

Homophobic Slur Yelled At Stabbing Victim Before He Was Attacked At Richard’s Bar, Police Say

Do stories like this matter to you? Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Already subscribe? Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation.