Donald Joseph "Joe" Friese is the last person you'd expect to be given a bail reduction. But St. Clair County Circuit Judge Zina Cruse did so this week despite prosecutors' objections -- ignoring the state's recommendation and common sense.
Here's a guy with a long criminal history who is awaiting trial on a first-degree murder charge. He was on home confinement on federal charges for just 19 days in 2013 before he got into more trouble. Prosecutors say he took part in a high-speed chase and intentionally crashed into another vehicle, resulting in the death of 18-year-old Mercedes Ferrari-Troisi. He fled and was on the run for days before his apprehension, which is part of the reason his bail was set at $1 million.
Cruse reduced his bail to $300,000, which means he would have to post $30,000 to get out of jail. He was still in jail on Friday, but he has a lot better chance of getting out before his trial, scheduled for September, than he did a few days ago.
Ferrari-Troisi's mother is outraged by Cruse's decision. Aren't we all?