Saturday, January 5, 2013
The New Year didn't start out all that great for everyone.
The New Year turned five days old today. And out of those five days, the Will County Courthouse was only open for three of them. That may not be a lot of days, but they were still action-packed and exciting. How action packed and exciting? Well, let's take a look: Are you a fan of true crime? Then come like our Facebook page.
Thursday, January 3, 2013
The family of Joseph Messina was distraught after a Will County judge found him guilty of punching a Joliet man into a coma more than three years ago.
Three and a half years after he was punched into a coma outside a Mokena bar, Eric Bartels sat propped in a wheelchair in a crowded Joliet courtroom. After the judge found the New Lenox man charged with striking him guilty, Bartels blinked his eyes once. "There are times when he knows what's going on," Bartels' mother, Janet Bartels of Tinley Park, said after Judge Sarah Jones delivered her verdict against Joseph Messina, 24, Thursday morning. Janet Bartels wasn't sure if that was one of those moments, but said she saw Messina going down from the start. "I knew this would be the outcome all along," she said. All along began back in July 2009 at the Mokena bar 191 South. Messina and five friends went to 191 South to celebrate his 21st …
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
The trial of a New Lenox man charged with punching a Joliet man into a coma outside a Mokena bar will resume next month.
The bench trial of a New Lenox man charged with punching a Joliet man into a coma outside a Mokena bar took a back seat to two of the most notorious and highly publicized murder cases in Will County's history. But the trials of wife-murderer Drew Peterson and quadruple-killer Christopher Vaughn are over now, and the case of Joseph Messina is back on. Messina, 24, allegedly knocked 29-year-old Eric Bartels of Joliet to the ground with a single punch outside the Mokena bar 191 South in July 2009. Bartels has been in a coma since. After Bartels fell, a witness testified previously, Messina straddled him, punched his face again, then "raised his arms above his head in victory." The police arrived quickly and found Messina hiding between the …
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
If you've got wit, add your punchline to Patch's weekly comic and win a personalized print.
Are you blessed with insight and good humor? Or just bored today? Share your wit with your south suburban neighbors by entering Patch's comic caption challenge. Just add your dialogue for today's comic in the comment section of this post. Our only requirement is that you keep it clean! At week's end, we'll pick the winning punchline based on how many of us here at Patch giggle and smile at your contribution. The user who produces the winning punchline will get a personalized proof of the comic, with the winning words and a credit line, from cartoonist Chuck Ingwersen and Patch. Congratulations to QC, who provided the winning punchline to last week's Bad Coffee comic: Female: Drink up mayor. Cheers! Male: Sandy, how obvious can you get?
Thursday, July 19, 2012
A Mokena police detective now says he can't recall whether he photographed the hands of a New Lenox man charged with punching a Joliet man into a coma.
The trial of a New Lenox man charged with punching a Joliet man into a coma during a bar fight ground to a halt when a Mokena Detective said he had shot a photo of the defendant's hand that no one can seem to find. Will County Judge Sarah Jones gave the Mokena police 11 days to come up with the missing picture. The police couldn't find it, and attorneys for the New Lenox man, 23-year-old Joseph Messina, moved for a mistrial. Then on Thursday, the same detective said he now can't remember whether he shot the photo after all. "No, I do not recall," Detective Greg Selin said during a hearing in Will County court. Defense attorney Ken Zelazo asked Selin if he talked about the Messina matter with prosecutors. Selin told him he did, but just …
Monday, July 9, 2012
Defense attorneys are bidding to have a mistrial declared in the case of a tragic bar fight because the police can't find a photo of the defendant's fist.
The police had 11 days to come up with a photo of the fist they say put a Joliet man in a coma. They failed to find it, and now the attorneys representing the New Lenox man charged with throwing the tragic coma punch are going for a mistrial. The purported picture shows the hand of Joseph Messina, the man standing trial for allegedly pummeling 29-year-old Eric Bartels of Joliet in July 2009 so severely that Bartels is still in a coma. Messina, 23, allegedly knocked Bartels to the ground with one punch outside the Mokena bar 191 South. After Bartels fell, a witness testified, Messina straddled him, punched his face again, then "raised his arms above his head in victory." Mokena police Detective Gregory Selin testified on June 28 that he …
Thursday, June 28, 2012
A Will County judge postponed the trial of Joseph Messina, accused of severely beating a Joliet man, to give Mokena police time to track down evidence.
A photograph the police say they have—but apparently can't find—has prompted a Will County judge to suspend the trial of a New Lenox man charged with punching another man into a coma. The purported picture shows the hand of Joseph Messina, the man standing trial for allegedly pummeling 29-year-old Eric Bartels of Joliet in July 2009 so severely that Bartels is still in a coma. Judge Sarah Jones has put the trial on hold until July 9. The police have until then to locate the photo. Both prosecutors and defense attorneys were unaware the photograph had been taken. They learned of it while a Mokena police officer was testifying Thursday. Messina, 23, allegedly knocked Bartels to the ground with one punch outside the Mokena bar 191 South. …
The New Lenox man charged with putting another man into a coma with a punch in 2009 stood over his victim and celebrated his "victory," a witness testified.
Jason Siegert was parked outside the Mokena bar 191 South on a July night in 2009 and said he had a "front row seat" for the punch that put a Joliet man in a coma. "I saw him punch him in the face, and then I saw the taller guy just fall," Siegert said of the blow that knocked Eric Bartels to the pavement and into a coma. "He was stiff as a board," Siegert said of Bartels, 29. "He fell from the curb straight back and landed on his head." Joseph Messina, 23, faces aggravated battery charges for the alleged attack that broke Bartels' skull and damaged his brain. Siegert testified Wednesday during Messina's trial in Will County court. Siegert said he and another man, Steven Kowalczyk, were parked outside the bar because they were volunteering…