Updated Sept. 4, 2012 – 1:30 p.m.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office has convened a grand jury to seek an indictment of LaGrange Park resident Carl Spoeri, who was charged on Aug. 23 with the first-degree murder of Brookfield resident Bojan Zigic.
At a brief preliminary hearing Aug. 30 at the Maybrook courthouse Assistant State’s Attorney Sara McGann announced that the state sought to indict Spoeri, 55.
On Sept. 14 the state is scheduled to return the grand jury’s decision regarding an indictment.
Spoeri, 55, appeared before Judge William Weiss in the company of his attorney, James Chess. Spoeri was released from police custody on Aug. 24 after posting bond.
Spoeri was arrested Aug. 20, the day he allegedly beat Zigic to death in front of Spoeri’s LaGrange Park home. McGann alleged at the Aug. 24 bond hearing that Spoeri punched Zigic twice in the head and then slapped him before Zigic collapsed to the ground, hitting the bumper of a vehicle on the way down.
The altercation was a continuation of one between the two men that began earlier on Aug. 20. At that time, Zigic left the Spoeri home and rented a truck to move out. He and a couple of friends were nearly finished packing up at about 8 p.m. and were in front of the Spoeri home, when Spoeri drove up and reportedly attacked Zigic.
Spoeri, who was accompanied in court by his wife, Lisa, declined to speak to reporters after last week’s preliminary hearing. Chess, his attorney, reiterated his contention that the state’s first-degree murder charge was excessive.
“The charges the state is pursuing, they are definitely not capable of proving first- or second-degree murder, and I doubt they could prove involuntary manslaughter,” said Chess. “It was more a case of accidental death. There was no intention on my client’s part to hurt anybody.”
Zigic, 26, was the fiancé of Spoeri’s stepdaughter, Erica. The couple had a child in May and had been living with Carl and Lisa Spoeri since December 2011.
Erica Spoeri, 24, who has been called to testify in front of the grand jury, is now living with Zigic’s family in Brookfield. As a condition of his bond, Spoeri is to have no contact with any member of the Zigic family, although he is allowed contact with his stepdaughter and her child.
Meanwhile, the Zigic family buried Bojan on Aug. 29 at a north suburban Serbian Orthodox Cemetery.
Zigic’s sister, Radmila Stevic, said her younger brother’s death has been especially hard on their parents.
“It’s been hard on all of us, but it’s hardest for them,” said Stevic, 31. “Nobody’s perfect; Bojan wasn’t perfect, but he didn’t deserve to die like that.”
Bojan Zigic was the youngest of three children of Mira and Slavko Zigic. Originally from Croatia, the family moved to Kosovo during the Croatian War of Independence in the 1990s.
Later they would flee Kosovo to escape war there and settle in the Chicago area. Stevic was 19 and Bojan 15 when the family came to the United States. Bojan enrolled at Park Junior High in LaGrange Park, where he met Erica Spoeri.
Bojan was not a fan of school, said his sister, and he dropped out of high school during his senior year at Lyons Township. But Bojan obtained a commercial driver’s license and began driving trucks, at first long-distance routes. He switched to local routes after Erica became pregnant with their son, Luka, who was born in May.
Stevic said her family only rarely got together with the Spoeris, but said Bojan had characterized his relationship with Carl Spoeri as generally good.
“Bojan always got along with Carl,” she said. “I would never assume that this would happen.”
Bojan even took after Carl Spoeri in at least one way, said Stevic. In deciding to get several tattoos, Bojan was taking his cue from Spoeri, she said.
This spring, two children were born into the Zigic family. In April, Stevic had her second child, a girl. Thirteen days later, Luka was born to Erica and Bojan.
“He was so happy,” Stevic said of her brother’s entry into fatherhood.
Stevic, a resident of Indian Head Park, visits her parents’ Brookfield apartment daily, she said. Having their two newest grandchildren close is a ray of light in what has been a dark chapter in the lives of Slavko and Mira Zigic.
“This is what keeps my mom and dad going right now,” Stevic said. “Luka’s a little boy, and he has the same face like Bojan.”