Donald Joseph "Joe" Friese was on home confinement on federal drug and weapons charges when prosecutors said he chased a car at triple digit speeds during a dispute over missing marijuana, causing a crash that killed a Caseyville teenager.
Friese, 28, who was charged in May with the first-degree murder of Mercedes Ferrari-Troisi, 18, made his first appearance before St. Clair County Circuit Judge Zina Cruse on Wednesday. His case was reset for late October. No trial date has yet been set.
At the time of the deadly accident, Friese was on home confinement after serving about five years on a 10-year prison sentence imposed in 2008 by U.S. District Judge Michael Reagan.
Friese was released from a federal penitentiary in Victorville, Calif., to a St. Louis area halfway house on Feb. 20, according to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons spokesman. He remained at the halfway house until April 10 when he was placed on home confinement. The accident that killed Ferrari-Troisi of Caseyville happened 19 days later.
In the 2008 federal case, Friese and his cousin, Roscoe D. Friese, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess narcotics and being a felon in possession of a firearm charges.
The federal indictment stated that the Frieses drove to a Troy neighborhood Nov. 28, 2007, and began looking inside parked cars.
"(Roscoe Friese) saw a maroon truck with a navigation system inside of it and alerted his cousin," court documents stated. "The maroon truck was the vehicle of a deputy U.S. marshal. (Roscoe Friese) watched as his cousin broke out the driver's window of the truck."
Roscoe Friese acted as a lookout as his cousin removed a gun, a tactical vest labeled "U.S. Marshal" and a helmet, then the two took them to an uncle's home in Collinsville.
Roscoe and Joe Friese traded the rifle to an East St. Louis drug dealer for a 20 grams of crack cocaine, according to court documents. The cousins then returned to State Park Place and smoked the crack with their relatives.
Marshals raided a home in State Park Place and found the bulletproof vests in the trash and a scale and crack cocaine in the house.
Donald Friese had previous burglary and theft convictions in Madison County.
St. Clair County prosecutors state that Friese intentionally caused the crash that killed Ferrari-Troisi. Police have said that there was a fight over missing marijuana at a house in the 8500 block of Collinsville Road in State Park Place in the early morning hours of April 29. A green Buick sedan with an unidentified male driver with passenger Ferrari-Troisi was pursued by a black GMC Denali driven by Friese and a white Chevrolet at speeds of more than 100 mph. In the 4900 block of Collinsville Road, the Buick and the Denali lost control and landed in a ditch.
The indictment stated that Friese intentionally crashed into the Buick while traveling at triple-digit speeds.
Ferrari-Troisi was thrown from the vehicle, then the Buick rolled over her. She was pronounced dead about four hours after the accident.
After the accident, Friese ran from the scene. He was apprehended on May 3 and returned to federal custody until July 18 when they returned him to face the murder charges.
He is now being held in the St. Clair County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail.
Contact reporter Beth Hundsdorfer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2570.