Saltzman sentenced to 79 years for murdering former county treasurer

December 21

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced Tuesday that the man who brutally beat to death former Will County Treasurer Jack Weber has been sentenced to 79 years in prison.

Circuit Judge Richard Schoenstedt handed down the sentence for Brent Saltzman, 27, formerly of Shorewood, at the conclusion of a hearing late Tuesday afternoon. Saltzman must serve 100 percent of his sentence.

A jury deliberated for three hours following a trial in September before finding Saltzman guilty of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder for the Oct. 8, 2000 beating that caused Weber’s death.

Weber, a 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. Brent Saltzman was living with his mother and Weber at the county treasurer’s Shorewood home at the time of the attack.

Saltzman was celebrating his 21st birthday and had become enraged during an argument with his stepfather. Jack and Bonnie Weber locked themselves in their master bedroom in an attempt to escape Saltzman’s fury. The assailant, 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.

Saltzman’s beating was so brutal that he broke the petrous bones on each side of Weber’s face. These bones, which are located near the ears, are the hardest bones in the human body. Assistant State’s Attorneys Neil Adams, who heads Glasgow’s felony division, and Frank Byers argued at the September trial that the force of Saltzman’s blows and the damage they caused showed the defendant intended to kill 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.

“Brent Saltzman brutally attacked and killed the man who had welcomed him into his home,” Glasgow said. “For this act of kindness, Saltzman shattered Jack’s life and broke the hearts of his stepfather’s family members. He deserves every minute he spends behind bars for this vicious murder.”

Glasgow continued: “Jack Weber was a fine and decent man. As one of our most respected public officials, he always treated everyone with dignity and respect.  His tragic death was a true loss felt throughout our community.”

The state’s attorney said he hopes the sentence brings some sense of closure for Weber’s family, particularly his daughters, Sue Dienslake and Judith Weber.

“These two strong women have now seen justice served after enduring six years of court appearances that pulled up painful memories of this abominable attack,” the state’s attorney said. “Clearly nothing can restore their beloved father to them, but hopefully the sentence brings a sense of finality regarding the punishment for the cold-blooded killer who murdered him.”

Glasgow praised his attorneys for conveying the brutality of the beating and for clearly presenting complicated medical evidence that enabled jurors to return guilty verdicts.

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.