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Sentencing set for New Lenox man convicted of paralyzing punch

Joe Messinright New Lenox outside Will County Courthouse Joliet IL Thursday January 3  2013.  He was found guilty

Joe Messina, right, of New Lenox outside the Will County Courthouse in Joliet, IL on Thursday January 3, 2013. He was found guilty of three counts of aggravated battery in a case where he hit Eric Bartels outside of 191 South, a Mokena bar and restaurant. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: September 5, 2013 6:54AM



A former New Lenox high school football star is expected to be sentenced next week for delivering a punch that paralyzed a Mokena man.

Joseph Messina, 25, was found guilty in January of three counts of aggravated battery.

He was accused of punching Eric Bartels outside a Mokena bar in 2009. The punch knocked Bartels to the ground, causing a head injury that left him paralyzed, mute and blind.

Last week, Will County Judge Sarah Jones denied Messina’s motions asking Jones to recuse herself and asking for a new trial.

A sentencing hearing for Messina, who played football for Lincoln-Way Central High School, is scheduled for Tuesday.

Messina’s lawyers had said Jones should remove herself from the case because she received an email from the state’s attorney’s secretary with a press release about her verdict.

Jones revealed during a March 6 post-trial hearing that Will County State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow’s secretary sent her a copy of Glasgow’s press statement on Messina’s conviction after she issued her verdict.

Jones said she didn’t read the attached statement, and sent a note back asking that they not send her future press releases.



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