Local man charged with killing disabled relative
BY BRIAN STANLEY firstname.lastname@example.org September 24, 2013 10:38AM
Francis P. Zabala | Will County Sheriff's Office
Updated: October 26, 2013 6:23AM
JOLIET — A city resident has been charged with murder in the beating death of a mentally disabled relative Sunday night, police said.
A Will County judge set a $2 million bail for Francis Zabala, 52, who pleaded not guilty Tuesday to killing Robert Meredith Jr. at their home in the 3800 block of Bergstrom Street.
Police Chief Brian Benton said police were notified about 9:30 p.m., after Meredith, 49, died from an apparent heart attack at Saint Joseph Medical Center.
“(Meredith) also had extensive bruising on his back, which the hospital staff thought was suspicious,” Benton said.
Over the next two days, detectives interviewed family members, including Zabala. An autopsy Monday showed Meredith died from multiple blunt force injuries, the coroner’s office reported.
The autopsy results and statements from the interviews led police to obtain a search warrant for the house, and “based on evidence collected and further interviews, there was probable cause to arrest Zabala,” Benton said.
Prosecutors said Zabala lost his temper with Meredith, after Meredith urinated on the floor and wasn’t cleaning it to Zabala’s liking. Zabala told police, “I lost it,” and hit Meredith repeatedly with a stick, authorities said.