Cop Can't Remember Taking Missing Pic in Coma Beating Case

A Mokena police detective now says he can't recall whether he photographed the hands of a New Lenox man charged with punching a Joliet man into a coma.

The trial of a New Lenox man charged with punching a Joliet man into a coma during a bar fight ground to a halt when a Mokena Detective said he had shot a photo of the defendant's hand that no one can seem to find.

Will County Judge Sarah Jones gave the Mokena police 11 days to come up with the missing picture. The police couldn't find it, and attorneys for the New Lenox man, 23-year-old Joseph Messina, moved for a mistrial.

Then on Thursday, the same detective said he now can't remember whether he shot the photo after all.

"No, I do not recall," Detective Greg Selin said during a hearing in Will County .

Defense attorney Ken Zelazo asked Selin if he talked about the Messina matter with prosecutors. Selin told him he did, but just discussed "my concerns that I was nervous about this case."

Zelazo then raised the possibility of impeaching Selin's credibility and Judge Jones bristled.

"You better be damn sure you can back that up," Jones said.

Zelazo also showed a video of Selin taking pictures of Messina while in the Mokena Police Department squad room. Selin's back is to the camera and it could not be determined if he also took pictures of Messina's hands.

Zelazo and Selin agreed that the tape seemed to be missing at least 30 seconds total from two separate sections.

Zelazo and co-counsel Dave Carlson contend the photo Selin previously said he took of Messina's hand is missing. Zelazo asked prosecutors to provide the originals—either original prints or digital images—of what photos they do have.

The case will be revisited Monday.

Messina allegedly knocked 29-year-old Eric Bartels of Joliet to the ground with a single punch outside the Mokena bar 191 South in July 2009. Bartels has been in a coma since.

After Bartels fell, a witness testified previously, Messina straddled him, punched his face again, then "raised his arms above his head in victory."

The police arrived quickly and found Messina hiding between the seats of a van, witnesses said.

But defense attorney Carlson insists Messina didn't throw the punch that broke Bartels' skull and damaged his brain. In fact, Carlson said, Messina didn't punch anyone at all. The attorney said it was actually one of Messina's close friends who struck Bartels.

R.W.Voter July 20, 2012 at 01:25 PM
I would assume that if the photo was taken, it would be inventoried and documented in the report. there is something not right here. Thank you
Mokena Mike July 20, 2012 at 02:29 PM
People that hide in vans at the scene of a crime are generally completely innocent…
Mary July 20, 2012 at 03:22 PM
guitly or innocent, the Mokena cop has been caught lying about a photo, and is now backtracking.
Mok justice July 20, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Mary , The " Photo " if taken or not was or was not tKen after the defendant had almost killed another person and was found " hiding" in a van and was identified by witnesses ! It has nothing to do with the actions of the Defendant ! It's a shame you would think it would matter ! The witness statements solidify the case ! GUILTY
Jay July 20, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Wait a second Mok, the statements mean nothing, because as it reads no one can say if he threw the punch that knocked him down. Only that he jumped on him after. That alone creates reasonable doubt if it was him. I have served on jury duty before and with no hard evidence, and word vs word, and with no one seeing him throw the knockout punch, I say not guilty. Him hiding means little.
Mok justice July 20, 2012 at 06:00 PM
No , he did throw a punch to an man flat on his back on the pavement who may have already been unconscious and then raised his arms " Rocky " style ! GUILTY
Jay July 20, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Mok, we live in America. Not Russia! People are innocent until proven guilty. But back to that weak point, does that Rocky style raising of the arms prove he threw the fatal, or semi-fatal blow? nope. You can throw his friends testimony out the door, because they were drunk, any half way decent lawyer could destroy that, the driver saw him jump on top after on the ground. Was it him that knocked him to hit his head on the curb? No one knows. Now that leaves the Mokena cops and that picture........still waiting....... So my point is that he maybe guilty, maybe not? But he will be found not guilty. There is not enough to find him guilty, and to much doubt. But Mok you are not American? Just calling people guilty before they are is wrong.
Mok justice July 20, 2012 at 10:12 PM
If it was your family member you would be singing a different tune ! GUILTY
john taxpayer July 21, 2012 at 01:55 AM
lol..right??... I wonder who may have done something wrong.. the person on the cellphone over there or the dip hiding in a van... People like jay are prob a fam or just a fanboy. everyone knows he did it, even if he is found not-guilty he will have to live with it the rest of his life. I feel sad for the poor kid that was 1/3 his size.
judy July 21, 2012 at 03:10 AM
So the guy who knocked the guy unconscious isn't the guy who put him in a coma? If he's not guilty I'll take Mokena Mike into my mouth.
Commie Chris July 21, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Yes, we do not live in Russia; we live in the United States. But let me ask you this: which place would ensure justice in this case? The American litigation process and "reasonable doubt" oftentimes creates great injustice. Look at OJ. At least in Russia this piece of garbage would be locked up for a long-time b/c common sense would prevail. Sometimes we have to look at things from a broader perspective and not just latch onto details.
Mokena Mike July 21, 2012 at 01:25 PM
I changed my mind...NOT GUILTY!
Judy July 21, 2012 at 02:36 PM
You wish Mokena Mike. Your dispicable and I'm not suprised. Trust me it will never happen.
Mokenaju July 21, 2012 at 05:24 PM
It would not suprise me if " Mokena Mike " had been through the system himself ! Everyone in Prison is Innocent " don't ya know " !
Brian July 21, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Based on his posts Mokena Mike seems to have a "prison mentality". Its unfortunate that he lives in our community.
Shocked. July 24, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Three things to remember: 1) Detective Greg Selin. 2) "the tape seemed to be missing at least 30 seconds total from two separate sections." This is precisely why we hand serious crimes over to the Illinois State Police. It won't be the error of misplacing the photo, it'll be the cover-up. 3) Eric Bartels.
John Roberts July 24, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Witnesses said he threw punch..in a fight raising your hands up in the air is a signal of defeating your opponent...in every sport just about the winner raises his hands or they are raised by the referee. This guy knew what he was doing..he wanted a confrontation so he can look big and bad in front of people..it's called liquid courage
John Roberts July 24, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Probably a relative of a friend of the cops...I have seen this kind of stuff first hand...cop recognizes someone and let's them go arresting the others with him.
John Roberts July 24, 2012 at 02:33 PM
You are correct.
Mel Gibson July 26, 2012 at 11:33 AM
This is such garbage. Where are the surveillance cameras outside the parking lot? Cameras are everywhere in this world... Except Lane Bryant and 191 South?


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