Two men charged with fatal beating of Joaquin Clara, father of 3 and grandfather of 9, in Belmont Cragin

Two men are behind bars Monday, charged with the fatal beating of 51-year-old Joaquin Clara, a father and grandfather, last Wednesday night in the Northwest Side Belmont Cragin neighborhood.

Rogelio Arroyo (left) and Thomas Ocasio | Chicago Police

Rogelio Arroyo (left) and Thomas Ocasio | Chicago Police

Clara was found dead about 9 p.m. behind an abandoned building in the 5900 block of West Fullerton, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

On Saturday, Rogelio Arroyo, a 31-year-old from the Galewood neighborhood; and Thomas Ocasio, a 46-year-old from the West Elsdon neighborhood, were both charged with first-degree murder in connection with Clara’s death, police said.

Prosecutors said Ocasio beat Clara with a baseball bat and a brick, while Arroyo served as a lookout.

Authorities said Clara was homeless. An autopsy Friday found he suffered blunt-force injuries to his head, the Cook County medical examiner’s office said. His death was ruled a homicide.

Family members have started a GoFundMe page to help offset funeral expenses.

Joaquin Clara | family photo

Joaquin Clara | family photo

His daughter, Nancy Clara, who started the page, called the father of three and grandfather of nine “a lovely soul.”

We will miss his beautiful personality. His unforgettable laugh. This is a huge pain in our hearts,” she wrote. “My dad was taken from us in the most horrible way, and the least we can do now is give him a beautiful funeral.”

Arroyo’s bond was set at $1 million at a court appearance Saturday, according to Cook County sheriff’s office records. Bond was denied for Ocasio. Both are scheduled to appear in court Monday.

—Chicago Sun-Times Wire and Homicide Watch Chicago

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