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updated: 7/30/2014 9:34 AM

Palatine man faces murder charge in punching death

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  • Ryan Flannigan

    Ryan Flannigan
    Courtesy of Courtney Flannigan

  • Michael Platt, 35, of Palatine, charged with murder

    Michael Platt, 35, of Palatine, charged with murder


A Palatine man accused of throwing an unprovoked punch that fatally injured a 26-year-old man outside a bar is in custody on a newly filed charge of first-degree murder, police said Tuesday.

Michael Platt, 35, had been facing a charge of aggravated battery stemming from allegations he struck Ryan Flannigan, also of Palatine, around 11:30 p.m. July 18 in the village's downtown.

Flannigan, who never regained consciousness, died from his injuries Monday afternoon.

Around noon Tuesday, Cook County prosecutors upgraded the charge against Platt to first-degree murder. Minutes later, Palatine police arrested Platt, who was out of jail on bail, at his girlfriend's house.

Flannigan is being remembered by family as a loving son, brother and friend.

"Ryan was more than just a wonderful person; he was kind, considerate and selfless," Courtney Flannigan, Ryan's older sister, said in an email Tuesday. "He loved his friends more than anything and the world was a better place when Ryan was in it."

Police on Tuesday offered more details of the July 18 altercation that led to Flannigan's death.

According to multiple witnesses, Flannigan and Platt were in separate groups that came together outside a bar on the 0-100 block of North Bothwell Street that night and began arguing.

Police Cmdr. Michael Seebacher said Platt stepped forward and punched Flannigan once on the side of the head, causing the 26-year-old to fall on the sidewalk.

Witnesses described the punch as being unprovoked, and there were no other punches thrown, Seebacher said.

"This is a tragedy from a senseless act of violence," he said.

Police called to the scene found Flannigan unconscious and bleeding from the head.

Officers arrested Platt a short time later at another nearby bar.

Flannigan's death bears a resemblance to a pair of similar "one-punch" deaths with suburban ties.

In 2004, Richard J. Vanecko, nephew of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, punched 21-year-old Mount Prospect resident David Koschman during an argument between two groups on a street in Chicago. Koschman fell and hit his head on the pavement and died from his injuries 11 days later.

In 2007, Dustin Goy, 32, hit a Crystal Lake man in the head with what prosecutors called a "sucker punch" outside a Crystal Lake bar. Anthony Carlsen, 45, was knocked unconscious immediately, fell and hit his head on the pavement. Carlsen died from his injuries seven days later.

Both Vanecko and Goy were convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Platt is currently confined at the jail in the Palatine police station. He is scheduled to appear in court this morning in Rolling Meadows for a hearing in which a judge could decide to modify his bail, which is initially set at $2 million by statute.

Courtney Flannigan said the loss of her brother will forever weigh on the hearts of all those who had the gift of knowing him.

"There are no words to describe the magnitude of this loss," she said. "Ryan will forever be our angel, looking down on us in the terrible time ahead."

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