Highland Park, News

Two face 2nd-degree murder charges for fatal altercation on beach in 2022

The two young men involved in a fatal altercation on a beach near Highland Park were charged in March with second-degree murder.

The Lake Country State’s Attorney’s Office announced on March 16 that it filed the charges against Jacob Firestone, 19, and Nicholas Caban, 20 — both of Highland Park — for the death of 45-year-old Matthew Ascaridis, of Highland Park.

In a news release, State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart thanked investigators, local authorities and the coroner’s office for providing evidence that informed the charges. The investigation was led by the Lake County Forest Preserve Police and Lake County Major Crimes Task Force.

Sara Avalos, a spokesperson for the state’s attorney’s office, told The Record that second-degree murder charges were filed because the investigation showed that Ascaridis’ death was the result of injuries caused by Caban and Firestone during a violent encounter that was not premeditated.

Authorities found the body of Ascaridis in the early hours of Sept. 17, 2022, on Fort Sheridan Beach, which is Lake County Forest Preserve land.

Police said Ascaridis, who lived in a home nearby, approached Firestone and Caban to complain about continued noise coming from the beach. A fight reportedly ensued that resulted in the death of Ascaridis.

Firestone and Caban reportedly left the scene at around 5 a.m. — about four hours after Ascaridis approached them — and called 911 to report the incident. The two were then transported from Caban’s home in Highland Park to the hospital, according to investigators.

After his release from the hospital, Firestone was arrested for allegedly concealing evidence, including a cellphone and a wheelbarrow, in relation to incident, as The Record previously reported.

Caban also faced charges after authorities found a firearm in his home; though, the weapon reportedly was not used in the altercation.

Ascaridis was a married father of two who for 12 years was a youth hockey coach in Winnetka.

GoFundMe online fundraiser launched to support Ascaridis’ family has raised more than $85,000 toward its goal of $150,000.

“We have kept (Ascaridis’) family apprised at all times regarding the course of the investigation, and we will continue to support them after this brutal attack took their husband, brother, father, son, and friend,” Rinehart said in a statement.

Caban and Firestone are each being held on a $2 million bond, according to LakeMcHenryScanner.com.

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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