Lower bail sought for accused killer
By Frank Vaisvilas Correspondent January 30, 2014 10:24PM
Updated: March 3, 2014 5:15PM
A Joliet man, charged with killing his mentally disabled brother-in-law, should have his bail lowered because Will County Jail staff is not properly treating his diabetes, according to his attorney.
Francis Zabala, 52, is accused of beating to death Robert Meredith, whom he was caring for, on Sept. 21 at their residence.
Prosecutors said Zabala beat Meredith, 49, after becoming angry because Meredith had urinated on the floor without cleaning it up.
Defense attorney Neil Patel argued in court Thursday that Zabala’s bail should be reduced from $750,000 to $400,000 to enable him to post bond and get out of jail. Zabala’s bail was previously reduced from $2 million.
“For some reason, the jail has decided to cut back on his treatment (for diabetes), which is having an adverse effect on his health,” Patel said.
He said jail personnel are testing Zabala’s blood sugar twice a day rather than three times, causing his client to have dizzy spells and fainting once and striking his head.
Patel said that if released from jail, Zabala would agree to be placed on electronic monitoring at his sister’s house. Zabala could not go to his previous residence because he would reside with family members who are potential witnesses in his case, he said.
Assistant State’s Attorney Dan Walsh opposed lowering the bail, citing the brutal nature of the crime and the prior reduction.
“He used his fists and a chair leg to beat him (Meredith) to death,” Walsh said. “We believe that (bail) of $750,000 with 10 percent (posted to obtain release) is more than appropriate.”
Patel argued that there was no premeditation, which would be a key issue at trial.
“As regard to his medical condition, we are walking a fine line here,” Patel said. “... Let’s avoid the possibility of liability here.”
Circuit Court Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak said she needed time to determine the accuracy of Patel’s claim about Zabala’s improper medical care before she ruled on the bail request.