West Frankfort man allegedly beats another man unconscious

A West Frankfort man is behind bars and another man, his alleged victim is in an induced coma at a Saint Louis hospital.

On Sunday night police were called to a home in the 2000 block of East Elm Street about a battery in progress.

When they arrived they found 38-year-old Josh Marvel laying in the driveway of the home unconscious and bleeding from the head and face.

"I stepped outside as it happened," said Beth Wilson the girlfriend of the suspect, 38-year-old William T. VanZandt of West Frankfort. "Then I ran back inside my house and got my phone and called 911. I pushed Billie back away from Josh, and when he realized I was calling the cops he jumped in the truck and drove off."

Police caught up to VanZandt in Harrisburg. And he was transported back to Franklin County.

Marvel was taken to Herrin Hospital and later air-lifted to a Saint Louis Hospital.

"I grabbed Josh's hand and I told him help was on the way," said Wilson. "And I told him if he could hear me to squeeze my hand and he squeezed a little bit. I had just never seen nothing like that before. I don't ever want to see someone hurt like that."

Wilson says she and Marvel have been friends since they were in school together. And that hers and Marvel's daughter are all in the same class now.

The alleged beating is being called a heinous crime at this time by police.

"I was upset when I first heard about what had happened to Josh," said Mary Jo Mcelyea who is Josh's Aunt. "He's me nephew and I love him a lot. My prayers and thoughts are with him and the family at this time. And something really needs to be done to this guy that did this to Josh. He doesn't need to be able to walk away. He needs to get some time, for a really long time."