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Trial on hold for man accused of near-fatal punch outside Mokena bar

Joseph P. Messina

Joseph P. Messina

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The trial of a man accused of throwing a near-fatal punch at a Mokena bar three years ago is on hold after a cop testified he took a photo that attorneys didn’t know existed.

Mokena Det. Greg Selin testified Thursday he took a picture of Joseph Messina’s right hand after Messina was arrested for punching Eric Bartels outside 191 South on July 25, 2009.

That answer turned out to be a surprise to every attorney in the room, and Will County Judge Sarah Jones had to send Selin into the hallway.

“I was not expecting that answer,” Assistant State’s Attorney Chris Koch told the judge.

Jones put the trial on hold until July 9, giving the lawyers a chance to track down the photo. The judge faulted neither side for the glitch.

“No one is playing hide the ball here,” Jones said.

Nevertheless, she said an earlier defense motion for a mistrial is still pending.

Messina, 23, of New Lenox is on trial for aggravated battery. Prosecutors said he threw the punches outside the Mokena bar in July 2009 that paralyzed Bartels.

Bartels’ mother said he can still not see, speak nor eat.



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