‘Mentally Impaired’ Man Killed For Urinating on Floor: ASA

A Joliet man beat a "severely mentally impaired" relative to death with a wooden chair slat, a prosecutor said.

Francis Zabala. Credit: Will County Sheriff's Department.
Francis Zabala. Credit: Will County Sheriff's Department.
By Joseph Hosey

A Joliet man "lost it" and beat to death a "severely mentally impaired" relative who urinated on the floor and did not adequately clean up after himself, a prosecutor said.

Francis Zabala, 52, faces two counts of first degree murder in connection with the beating death of 49-year-old Robert Meredith.

Meredith had apparently died of a heart attack when he was taken to Presence St. Joseph Medical Center Saturday, but St. Joe's staff saw four separate areas of deep bruising to his back, said Assistant State's Attorney Mary Fillipitch.

An autopsy revealed Meredith's lungs were bruised and ribs were broken, Fillipitch said. The police then interviewed two witnesses at Zabala and Meredith's 3837 Bergstrom St. home.

The officers learned Meredith was "severely mentally impaired," Fillipitch said, and that Zabala had beaten him with a wooden chair slat after he lost his temper.

Zabala admitted to the police that he "lost it" when Meredith urinated on the floor and was "not cleaning it up right," Fillipitch said. Zabala told the police he used a stick to beat Meredith, she said.

Zabala has no criminal background. Fillipitch asked Judge Roger Rickmon to set his bond at $5 million. Defense attorney Kathryn Mackey requested a $500,000 bond. Rickmon set it at $2 million.

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