June 20, 2014

Judge reduces bail for man accused in fatal reckless driving case

A man who walked away from a federal halfway house and got into high-speed chase ending in a crash that killed a teenage girl will get another crack at freedom after a judge reduced his bond.

Donald Joseph "Joe" Friese faces first-degree murder charges in connection with a traffic crashed that resulted in the death Mercedes Ferrari-Troisi, 18, in 2013.

He has been held since he was apprehended by police on May 3, 2013.

"I am livid. I can't believe it. I am sick," said Lisa Ferrari-Darron, the victim's mother when she learned Friese's bail was lowered. "He can get on home confinement again after he was on it when he killed my kid. I am beside myself."

On Thursday, St. Clair County Circuit Judge Zina Cruse reduced Friese's bond from $1 million to $300,000 over prosecutor's objections. To be released from jail, Friese must post $30,000 bail, or 10 percent of the bond.

Friese still was being held in the jail on Friday morning. His attorney, Tania Aldaddah, could not be reached for comment.

Friese was charged with first-degree murder after police 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, 2013.

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, police said. 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.

At the time of the accident, Friese was on home confinement after he was released from federal prison on drug and weapons charges.

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.

The Frieses broke the window of a truck in a Troy neighborhood and took a gun, a tactical vest and a helmet. The truck belonged to a deputy U.S. marshal. The two men then took the gun and traded it to an East St. Louis drug dealer for 20 grams of crack cocaine, according to court documents.

Friese is set to go to trial on the murder charges on Sept. 8

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