Attorney For New Lenox Man in Coma Punch Case Argues For New Trial
The judge will decide next month if Joseph Messina, who was convicted of throwing the punch that put Eric Bartels of Joliet into a coma, will be tried again.
Attorney Dave Carlson said there wasn't enough evidence for Joseph Messina, 24, to be found guilty of beating Eric Bartels outside the Mokena bar 191 South in July 2009. The attack left Bartels, 29, in a coma.
Carlson pointed out that three key prosecution witnesses swore Messina was wearing shorts the night of the attack when he was actually wearing long pants. Carlson also claimed it was one of Messina's friends, Michael Glielmi, formerly of Manhattan, who punched Bartels, but that he was denied the opportunity to question Glielmi.
Glielmi invoked his constitutional right to not incriminate himself, but Carlson said Judge Sarah Jones should have made clear what crime Glielmi feared he would be linked to by testifying.
Carlson also brought up that Mokena police Detective Greg Selin testified that he photographed Messina's hands after the New Lenox man was arrested, but when no one could find the pictures, Selin said under oath that he didn't photograph Messina's hands after all.
Not only that, Carlson said, but police department surveilance video shows Selin taking some photos of Messina, but 17 seconds of the footage is mysteriously missing.
Messina's sentencing had been scheduled for Wednesday but Judge Sarah Jones said she will decide whether to grant a new trial—or even go ahead and find Messina not guilty—next month. If Jones does not reverse the verdict or grant a new trial, she said she will head straight to sentencing.