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Email to Judge Means New Lenox Coma Puncher Needs New Trial: Lawyer

An email from the state's attorney's office to the judge in the New Lenox coma puncher case is enough to get the convicted man a new trial, according to court papers filed by defense lawyers.

On the day a New Lenox man was to be sentenced for punching another man into a coma outside a Mokena bar, the judge announced she received an email from the prosecutor's office.

Even though Will County Judge Sarah Jones didn't read the email, lawyers for convicted coma-puncher Joseph Messina say that just the fact she got it means she should start a whole new trial and leave it to another judge to decide the case.

Messina, 24, was found guilty in January of punching 29-year-old Eric Bartels, of Joliet, outside the Mokena bar 191 South in July 2009. The attack left Bartels in a coma.

Messina was set to be sentenced March 6 but his attorneys, Dave Carlson and Ken Zelazo, instead argued for a new trial based on a lack of evidence, among other things. Before that hearing started, Judge Jones revealed that she received an email from the Will County State's Attorney's Office.

The email included a statement from Will County State's Attorney that was to be disseminated to the media. The statement said:

"'This was a senseless and unprovoked act of aggression on the part of Joseph Messina that literally destroyed Eric Bartels' life. The defendant's conduct—striking the victim while he lay helpless on the ground and then cheering victoriously over him—reflects the culture of violence woven into every aspect of our entertainment and media,' said State's Attorney James Glasgow. 'Fortunately, Judge Jones found him guilty after weighing the totality of the evidence as well as the credibility of the defense witnesses. She wisely saw through the fraudulent statements made by a defense witness, who changed his story in order to blame someone else three years after the crime.'"

Zelazo presented the motion for a new trial in court Thursday. Messina's attorneys will make their case before Judge Jones April 4.

State's attorney spokesman Charles B. Pelkie said Messina's latest bid for a new trial is without merit.

"There's absolutely no legal basis for that motion," Pelkie said.

"Carlson knows this," he said. "This is strictly politiics on his part. No other attorney would file such a motion."

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Norm March 28, 2013 at 06:07 PM
Is there a bigger media hound than Mr. Glasgow?
Jo March 28, 2013 at 08:17 PM
Bravo for Mr. Glasgow. This idiot was found guilty. He only stated what we are all thinking. If this is a way to gain media attention....GOOD. These punks deserve what they get...AMEN
concerned March 28, 2013 at 08:45 PM
Glasgow will be filing charges against the witnesses who made fraudulent testimonies once the sentence has been announced.
Steve T. March 28, 2013 at 09:57 PM
WHY is this case being dragged out for so long? Witnesses with no affiliation to the case witnessed Joe slam Eric's head into the concrete. Enough said... Time for sentencing already.
joe March 30, 2013 at 10:32 AM
Dear Websters Dictionary Publishers, please remove the words, Justice, and Illegal from your Dictionary as no one knows what they mean anymore.
Tito April 25, 2013 at 06:11 PM
what's the latest on this??
Ann Piasecki May 02, 2013 at 04:13 AM
Hi Folks, I just deleted a post that was an unnecessary attack against a family member. Personal attacks are against Patch policy. Thank you, Ann

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