A white bar owner in Illinois accused of beating a Black female college student unconscious is now facing a class-three felony charge. On Thursday (April 15), police in Quincy, Illinois arrested and booked 47-year-old Steven William Homan into the Adams County Jail on aggravated battery charges.
The charges stem from an April 4 assault, where Homan is accused of attacking 19-year-old Jazzpher “Jazz” Evans.
“Jazzpher Evans, her family and our firm understand the announcement of charges against Steven Homan is just a first step in obtaining the justice Jazzpher deserves as she makes a gallant effort towards a full recovery,” attorney Keenan J. Saulter, who is representing Evans, said in a statement.
“While the news of charges spark hope, we remain relentless in our pursuit that Steven Homan is held fully accountable for his wrongdoing and the trauma he inflicted on Jazzpher,” he added.
The charges mark an end to a 10-day investigation into the incident by the Quincy Police Department and local prosecutors and arrive after growing calls from the community demanding justice for Evans. According to the Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office, the encounter between Homan and Evans occurred at Homan’s Quincy bar, The Barn, which is located about two miles away from the Quincy University campus, where Evans is a student.
The criminal complaint, filed by Adams County State’s Attorney Gary L. Farha, states that Homan insulted Evans at the bar, put his arm around her neck and dragged her for 20 seconds.
Evans’ lawyer, Saulter, noted that Homan is 6’5” tall and said he slammed Evans up against a wall, choked her and tossed her “lifeless body” out of the bar. Evans said she was unconscious for five minutes after the attack and awoke with bruises on her face and a bloody nose. Furthermore, Evans said police officers and paramedics never offered her any aid after she told them she’d been attacked.
Evans believes Homan’s attack was racially motivated. She suffered a concussion, two black eyes and facial wounds that left scars from the assault.
Evans’ supporters and community activists criticized the police department for taking 10 days to arrest and charge Homan. On Thursday, they responded to the complaints in another statement.
“It was decided at that time that rather rush the issue it was prudent to conduct a proper investigation before making an arrest,” they said. “The path to justice is rarely short and easy. When circumstances allow, it is always best to conduct a proper and methodical investigation rather than rush to judgment.”
Homan was released from jail after posting a $25,000 bond later on Thursday. He is expected to make his first court appearance on May 4.