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2 McHenry County jail inmates charged in jailhouse attack

Men accused of punching, kneeing, stabbing man with a pencil, complaints show

Walter R. Moran, left, and Juan C. Popoca

Two McHenry County Jail inmates were charged with mob action and aggravated battery for allegedly punching, kneeing and stabbing another detainee, court records show.

Walter R. Moran, 28, of Cicero, is accused of punching a 25-year-old man “several times with his fists and knee,” along with fellow inmate Juan C. Popoca, 19, according to the criminal complaints. Popoca also is accused of striking the man “several times with his fist” and stabbing him with a pencil.

The injured inmate was treated for minor injuries by medical staff at the jail, said Emily Matusek, a spokeswoman for the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office.

Moran has been held at the jail since Sept. 28 on $250,000 bond, of which he must post 10% to be released. He is charged with several Class X felonies, including armed robbery, armed violence, being an armed habitual criminal, and aggravated battery with a firearm, according to the criminal complaint.

Authorities alleged that in February 2021, Moran shot and struck an employee during a robbery at the Circle K gas station in Marengo, according to court documents.

The gas station clerk said in an interview with the Northwest Herald that a man held a pistol about an inch away from his leg when he shot him. He did not suffer life-threatening injuries, and Moran and two others charged in the incident stole just $175, according to earlier reports.

Popoca, of Harvard, has been held at the jail since Nov. 30, held on $105,000 bond, of which he must post 10% to be released. He is charged with two counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm, a Class 1 felony, and unlawful possession of weapons by a felon, a Class 3 felony, according to the indictment.

Authorities alleged in the indictment that Popoca shot a gun at the building located at 700 W. Metzen St. in Harvard while he knew or reasonably should have known the building was occupied.

Other questions about the incident posed to the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office – including what led to the fight – were not answered Wednesday.

Moran is due in court June 22 and Popoca on May 25.