Updated Aug. 24, 2012 – 1:10 p.m.
A Cook County judge on Friday morning rejected the state’s request to impose a $5 million bond for Carl Spoeri, the 55-year-old LaGrange Park man charged with the first-degree murder of his grandson’s father.
Judge Stanley L. Hill said he found compelling the argument by Spoeri’s attorney that the altercation that resulted in the death of Bojan Zigic was part of a longstanding feud between the two, and that Spoeri never meant to kill Zigic.
“He had no intention of doing serious bodily harm,” said attorney James Chess, who represented Spoeri at the latter’s bond hearing at the Maybrook courthouse Friday morning. “Carl is genuinely remorseful.”
Instead, Hill, over the protest of Assistant State’s Attorney Sara McGann, set bond at $250,000. That means Spoeri can be released from custody if he posts 10 percent of that amount. At the bond hearing, Chess stated that Spoeri’s wife, Lisa, had already raised $10,000.
“I think the $5 [million] bond is oppressive,” Chess said.
Spoeri is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on Aug. 30 in Room 102 of the Maybrook courthouse.
McGann stated that Zigic had been living at the Spoeri home in the 200 block of Kings Court in LaGrange Park for the past nine months. One of Spoeri’s daughters was Zigic’s girlfriend, and the couple had a baby three months ago.
On Aug. 20 during an argument, said McGann, Spoeri and his girlfriend were ordered by the girl’s parents to leave the house. McGann said the two left the house, but returned around 5 p.m. with a couple of friends and a truck to move belongings out of the house.
Just as they were done loading the truck, between 7:45 and 8 p.m., Spoeri reportedly pulled up to the residence in his vehicle, got out and approached Zigic. The two reportedly got into an argument during which Spoeri allegedly punched Zigic in the head, punched him again, and slapped him.
Zigic fell to the ground, reportedly hitting his head on the bumper of a vehicle on the way down.
According to McGann, Spoeri then told his daughter, “Let Bojan die. He’s not worth it.”
Paramedics transported Zigic to Loyola University Medical Center, where he underwent surgery to relieve swelling of his brain. McGann stated that Zigic suffered severe head trauma and brain damage. Zigic never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead at about 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 23.
LaGrange Park police arrested Spoeri at the scene, and he has been in custody since Aug. 20. He was charged with first-degree murder on Thursday after Zigic’s death.
Chess disputed the state’s attorney’s charge of first-degree murder, saying he found it “unreasonable to believe that striking someone two times would create the probability of death.”
Chess added that because of the ongoing nature of the argument between Zigic and Spoeri, “there was sufficient provocation” to warrant a lesser charge such as involuntary manslaughter.
Spoeri, a mechanic for UPS for the past 20 years and a part-time mechanic at an auto repair shop in Berwyn, is married with five children.
His wife, Lisa, said after the hearing that her daughter never left the family home on Aug. 20, and that she never kicked her daughter out of their home.
“She was there all the time; we never told her to leave,” Lisa Spoeri said.
As for Zigic, Lisa Spoeri said that he was told he could stay at their home if he started “paying rent to support his family.”
Attempts to reach members of Zigic’s family were not immediately successful.