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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.

Lawyers for the New Lenox man convicted in January of punching a Joliet man into a coma outside a Mokena bar argued Wednesday that he should either be acquitted or get a new trial.

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.

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qetesh March 15, 2013 at 02:57 AM
Mistakes made the police do not make a guilty man innocent. The mistakes made the police did not him guilty, either. He was found guilty by a court of law. Writing incorrectly (there is too many mistakes) and in all CAPS will not help him face the truth. If you really want to help him, let him face the truth and consequences of his actions.
qetesh March 17, 2013 at 05:23 AM
Why does every guilty person wear a dorky sweater vest and button down shirt when they are on trial? Eventually, we will just assume that is the look of all psychopaths and wanna-be murderers. Great choice there, innocent one.
Norm March 25, 2013 at 10:10 PM
Hey Pot, your kettle is black! After posting two lines of jibberish, you chastise a poster for making mistakes. Ha!
Norm March 25, 2013 at 10:15 PM
And what do internet trolls wear when they post inane garbage on a comment board? Nevermind, I don't want to know.
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