Five men indicted by a Cook County grand jury in connection with the Election Night beating of a former North Riverside village administrator pleaded not guilty during a May 31 arraignment.

Among those entering a not guilty plea was former Berwyn Public Safety Director Frank Marzullo, who was charged in April with two counts of aggravated battery and four counts of official misconduct for his alleged role in the April 5 beating of 54-year-old Wayne Pesek outside a Forest Park restaurant.

The official misconduct charges were the result of Marzullo’s alleged interference in the Forest Park police investigation.

Also charged in the case were Marzullo’s son, Jerry, a former Berwyn firefighter. The younger Marzullo, who resigned his position as an assistant Cook County state’s attorney after his indictment, was charged with two counts of aggravated battery.

Frank Marzullo’s brother, Russell, was charged with three counts of aggravated battery and one count of unlawful restraint.

Berwyn Police Officer Michael Fellows and Charles Baugh were also charged with two counts each of aggravated battery.

All five are accused of dragging Pesek, a North Riverside resident and former village administrator, out of the Golden Steer Restaurant, and then severely beating him. Pesek suffered broken facial bones, cracked ribs and spinal injuries, and was hospitalized for two days.

Marzullo’s attorney, Michael Goggin, has characterized the incident as a simple bar fight and that Frank Marzullo’s role was as a peacemaker, but Pesek’s attorney has claimed that Marzullo was “directing a beating.”

Frank Marzullo, the controversial former police and fire chief for the City of Berwyn, resigned his position as Public Safety Director April 30 after a group of reform candidates wrested control of that city’s government from the Berwyn Regular Democratic Organization, which was supported by Marzullo. Jerry Marzullo ran as an aldermanic candidate on the BRDO slate.

The Forest Park incident came in the wake of a resounding Election Day defeat that ensured Marzullo’s ouster from his post as Public Safety Director. Berwyn’s new mayor, Michael O’Connor, had pledged to fire Marzullo if elected. Jerry Marzullo was among the BRDO candidates turned aside by voters on April 5.

Cook County Criminal Court Judge Dennis Dernbach has set June 28 as the next date all five men must appear in court for a status hearing. All of the men are free on bond.
?”Bob Uphues