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Judge won’t lower accused killer’s bail

Updated: March 7, 2014 1:48PM



A Will County judge has declined to lower bail for a Joliet man accused of beating to death his mentally handicapped brother-in-law on Sept. 21 at their residence.

Circuit Court Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak’s ruling means that Francis Zabala likely will remain at the county jail while awaiting trial for the murder of 49-year-old Robert Meredith. Prosecutors are aiming for a trial this spring.

Defense attorney Neil Patel had sought to get the bail reduced from $750,000 to $400,000 on grounds that the jail staff was not properly treating his client’s diabetes. Zabala’s bail previously was reduced from $2 million.

Bertani-Tomczak had directed Assistant State’s Attorney Dan Walsh to check on Zabala’s medical care and report back to her. At a hearing Tuesday, Walsh told the judge that Zabala’s blood sugar is being tested twice a day at the jail and has been stable.

But Patel contended that Zabala, 52, was only being tested every other day, suffers from dizzy spells and even fainted once, injuring his head, according to jail records.

Walsh said the fainting incident stemmed from Zabala refusing his medication. Patel said that medication made Zabala nauseous until jail staff started giving him crackers with it.

He said Zabala could better take care of himself if released on bail and needs to be tested three times a day.

“I am disappointed that the doctor at the jail would say that Francis’ diabetes is under control,” Patel said.



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