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Alleged Bad-Joke Teller Killed

By Sam Bakken in News on Jul 11, 2005 5:34PM

On Saturday two college students allegedly beat the life out of a University of Illinois at Chicago student on the 1500 block of South Sangamon Street.

A bike lockProsecutors say one of the alleged attackers, 21-year-old Muaz Haffer, punched 23-year-old Tombol Malik and then hit him in the head with Malik's own bike lock. Malik was with a friend, Anthony Popelka, whom prosecutors say the other attacker, 20-year-old Mantas Matulis, pushed to the ground and shocked with a stun gun. The scrap allegedly started when Malik and Popelka saw that Matulis was bleeding near his ear and asked him if he needed help. Matulis and Haffner told them to mind their own business and went berserk.

Prosecutors say Haffer continued to bash away on Malik after his body had gone limp. A law enforcement source close to the case told the Sun-Times that at one point the attackers stood over the unconscious Malik, laughed, then pointed at Malik and said to Popelka, "Look at your boy now."

We haven't really heard the alleged attackers' side of the story, except that their attorneys say they were defending themselves, but holy shit—if true, fuck you two.

At first, of course, we thought the attack was the tragedy, but then we thought the Trib's first paragraph literally added insult to Malik's fatal injuries—and, we admit, thought, "Hey! That's our thing. The line, "It was supposed to be a carefree summer spent soaking up as much of the sun and the city as he could when he wasn't waiting tables and cracking bad jokes," seemed to be meant as a sort of eulogy, but "eulogy" implies "praise". We found it interesting that someone would say of their dead friend, "Great kid, but utterly unfunny."

Then we read through to page two (and THANK GOD for that page two, nine more two-sentence paragraphs on that first page really would have been overwhelming) and saw that Malik enjoyed trading "the worst jokes in the world" with a coworker. As our readers know, we're big fans of knowingly delivering bad jokes for comic effect. It sounds like Malik was our kind of guy.