JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced Tuesday that the man who brutally beat former Will County Treasurer Jack Weber to death has been found guilty of murder and attempted murder.
A jury deliberated for three hours before finding Brent Saltzman, 26, formerly of Shorewood, guilty of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder for the Oct. 8, 2000 beating that caused Weber’s death.
The popular elected official, who was 63-years-old at the time of the attack, suffered massive head injuries from which he never fully recovered. Weber died from a blood clot on Sept. 12, 2002 after spending nearly two years in a nursing home, where he required around-the-clock medical care.
Weber had married Saltzman’s mother, Bonnie. Saltzman was living with his mother and Weber at the county treasurer’s Shorewood home.
Saltzman was celebrating his 21st birthday on the day of the attack and became enraged for some reason when he saw his stepfather wearing a bathrobe.
Jack and Bonnie Weber locked themselves in their master bedroom in an attempt to escape Saltzman’s fury. The defendant, however, kicked through the door, which had been locked with a deadbolt, and chased Weber into his master bathroom.
The powerfully built Saltzman, who was 6-foot, 2-inches tall and weighed 210 pounds, then struck the county treasurer with his elbow, threw him to the bathroom floor and began striking him repeatedly in the head. A brain surgeon who treated Weber following the attack compared his injuries to those a driver who was not wearing a seat belt might suffer in a high-speed collision.
“Brent Saltzman’s attack on Jack Weber was vicious and unprovoked,” Glasgow said. “Out of the goodness of his heart, Jack Weber took Saltzman into his home. This ruthless thug repaid his stepfather’s kindness with a beating that shattered the last two years of Jack Weber’s life and ultimately killed him.”
Bonnie Weber dialed 911 after the attack, and the recording of her call was entered into evidence by prosecutors during the trial. During that call, a panicked Bonnie Weber said, “My son tried to kill my husband.” The Shorewood officer who responded to her call also testified that Bonnie Weber said Saltzman had killed her husband.
Assistant State’s Attorney Neil Adams, who heads Glasgow’s felony division, told jurors during closing arguments that Bonnie Weber was a trained nurse who recognized her son’s attack as an attempt to kill Jack Weber. He urged the jury to accept the account of the beating she gave in her 911 call and to the responding officer.
Assistant State’s Attorney Frank Byers, who also prosecuted the case, reminded jurors that Saltzman’s beating broke the petrous bones on each side of Weber’s face. These bones, which are near the ears, are the hardest bones in the human body, according to testimony. Byers argued that the force of the blows and the damage they caused showed that Saltzman intended to destroy Weber.
The two prosecutors also presented medical evidence that showed Weber died from a blood clot that resulted from the sedentary life forced upon him by Saltzman’s beating. The county treasurer could not stand without assistance and required constant medical care in a nursing home following the attack.
Glasgow praised Adams and Byers for conveying the brutality of the beating and for clearly presenting complicated medical evidence that enabled jurors to return guilty verdicts.
Glasgow knew the county treasurer personally and remembered him for his kindness.
“Jack Weber was the most thoughtful and considerate elected official with whom I have ever dealt,” the state’s attorney said. “He always went out of his way to inquire about my well-being and that of my family, and it was always genuine and heartfelt. I always walked away from an encounter with Jack feeling much better about myself and my lot in life.”
Glasgow also praised Weber’s family members, particularly his daughters, Sue Dienslake and Judith Weber, for their dedication and support following the beating.
“His daughters sacrificed much in caring for their stricken father and no one is more deserving of this jury verdict than they,” he said.
Saltzman was convicted of attempted murder in early 2002 in connection with Weber’s beating and received a 28-year sentence. The charge, however, was upgraded to first-degree murder and the case was scheduled for a new trial after the county treasurer died in September 2002.
Saltzman faces up to 100 years in prison when he is sentenced by Circuit Judge Richard Schoenstedt on Nov. 29.