'He kicked me and kicked me': Fundraiser to be held for Belleville man beaten in robbery

News-DemocratOctober 19, 2013 

AP GRAPHICS BANK

— A fundraiser today at Seven Restaurant and Lounge will help offset medical expenses for a Belleville man who was robbed and beaten downtown.

The event for Tracey Schneider, 48, starts at 4 p.m. on the second floor of Seven at 7 S. High St. in Belleville.

There will be a donation-based food buffet and musical performances by Eric Veri, Dade and Wade and Park Avenue Trio.

Schneider, known as a Belleville restaurateur and for raising money for the city's police dogs as a Belleville Humane Society volunteer, said he appreciates the community support.

Schneider said it was daunting at first for him to walk downtown after the attack. Then Schneider decided he wouldn't let the crime keep him from doing what he enjoys: spending time downtown.

Schneider was leaving Seven, just after midnight on May 7, when a fellow bar patron followed him down to East Main Street.

Schneider said the man punched him in the face and continued to kick him when he fell to the ground. The man took $180.

"I would have gladly given him the money," Schneider said. "Instead he kicked me and kicked me."

Schneider said the incident left him with three broken ribs days before he planned on taking his mom out for Mother's Day.

Now Schneider suffers from a cerebrospinal fluid fistula, which means fluid leaks from the area around the spinal cord and brain after a head injury. He still needs surgery and he cannot work.

Schneider has worked at Taps N Corks, which closed this year, and the former Pasta House Co. and Washington Street Grille in Belleville.

Belleville Police Detective Mark Heffernan said witnesses and public assistance were critical in the Police Department's investigation and identification of the suspect in Schneider's case.

On July 19, Belleville police arrested Cory A. Houghlan, 22, of 802 Union Ave., on suspicion of felony robbery and felony aggravated battery in a public place.

Houghlan is being held at the St. Clair County Jail without bail.

At the time of the May incident, Houghlan was on parole. His parole was terminated at the time of his arrest in July.

Houghlan previously was convicted of felony hate crime and mob action, and misdemeanor battery, among other violations. He served 18 months in prison and the sentences were concurrent, according to Heffernan.

A St. Clair County trial jury in 2011 found Houghlan, who is white, guilty of striking a black man in the face while repeatedly shouting racial slurs Aug. 2, 2009, at the Handee Mart parking lot in Mascoutah.

The mob action and battery convictions were for a 2009 incident in Shiloh in which Houghlan struck, kicked and choked a man.

Houghlan's next court appearance for the robbery and battery case is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Oct. 31.

Contact reporter Jacqueline Lee at jlee@bnd.com or 239-2655. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BNDBelleville.

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