JOLIET, IL — As John O'Malley was inside his house Sept. 13 celebrating another Chicago Bears fourth quarter touchdown against the Detroit Lions, his 55-year-old wife appeared near the living room, hiding her hands behind her back. Then, Denise O'Malley pointed a gun at her husband of more than 30 years and fired, the Joliet shooting victim testified last week.
A retired Cook County Sheriff's Office deputy, John O'Malley told Will County Circuit Court Judge Dave Carlson that he was shot in his left thigh and upper chest. Bleeding profusely, John O'Malley ran outside his house in the 1900 block of Brighton Lane and collapsed. Neighbors called 911.
After being hospitalized in critical condition, John O'Malley has made a remarkable recovery.
Last week, his wife's criminal defense attorney Jeff Tomczak called John O'Malley to testify Carlson's courtroom. The shooting victim agrees with Tomczak that Denise O'Malley should no longer be held in the Will County Jail. Instead, Tomczak said he wants Denise O'Malley to go to Linden Oaks Behavioral Health to address her mental illnesses.
Since Sept. 13, Denise O'Malley has remained in the Will County Jail and her bail remains at $750,000.
A registered nurse at Edward Hospital in Naperville, Denise O'Malley has been charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery with a firearm, aggravated discharge of a firearm and aggravated domestic battery.
Tomczak filed a motion last week asking that the Joliet woman's bail be reduced from $750,000 to $100,000. If Judge Carlson agrees to it, O'Malley's brother and her father would only need to come up with $10,000, rather than $75,000 cash, to bail her out of the Will County Jail.
According to Tomczak's motion, Denise O'Malley will complete a psychological evaluation and all recommended counseling, if her bail is lowered to $100,000. Tomczak also requested that Denise O'Malley be placed on an electronic monitoring device while she awaits her attempted murder trial.
Additionally, she would not have any contact with her husband, John O'Malley, or the family's house in the 1900 block of Brighton Lane, which is the Plainfield area of Joliet, Tomczak advised the judge.
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If she is released from custody, Tomczak said his client would stay at her brother's house in the 1600 block of Morning Star Lane in Plainfield.
During Wednesday's courtroom arguments, Tomczak acknowledged these are "serious charges here." However, he argued that Denise O'Malley has no criminal history, plus she has worked the past 12 years as a registered nurse at Edward's Hospital.
"She's dearly loved by these folks," Tomczak said, suggesting that Edward Hospital is keeping Denise O'Malley's nursing position available for her even though she faces attempted murder charges.
Back in February, right on the verge of the coronavirus pandemic, Denise O'Malley's family began to suspect that she was suffering from serious mental illness, Tomczak told Judge Carlson. Tomczak said the family brought her to Linden Oaks and she was diagnosed with psychosis, anxiety disorder and schizophrenia.
She returned to her house in Joliet, and according to Tomczak, her psychiatric problems grew worse over the past several months, culminating with her delusional behavior toward her husband, leading to the shooting.
"They may not have given the care she needed," Tomczak remarked in court last week, referring to Linden Oaks.
In Courtroom 405, Tomczak called John O'Malley to testify on behalf of his wife. He told the judge that he and Denise have been married 34 years, they have one grown son and one grown daughter and he spent 32 years on the Cook County Sheriff's Office before retiring a few years ago.
"You were shot two times?" Tomczak asked his witness.
"Yes, sir," responded the silver-haired man wearing a dark navy suit.
During the proceedings, Denise O'Malley watched along from a video feed set up at the Will County Jail.
Recalling last month's shooting, John O'Malley testified that "it was mental illness. It was not Denise that did the offense. It was not my wife; no other reasons for what happened."
John O'Malley was shot with a .357 revolver, and the Joliet Police Department later recovered the gun from Denise O'Malley's kitchen table, according to last week's testimony.
During last week's hearing, Judge Carlson expressed some reluctance to dramatically reduce Denise O'Malley's bail and send her off to Linden Oaks for a psychiatric evaluation, not knowing how long she would stay there.
According to Will County prosecutors, Denise O'Malley indicated that her husband "threatened to kill her (even though) there's no evidence to that." Additionally, "the defendant advised she believed her husband was having an affair and her marriage was on the decline," Will County prosecutor Tom Slazyk said.
Slazyk told the judge that Denise O'Malley "did admit firing the firearm at her husband" and the shooting happened during a breakdown; she was not prescribed any medications at the time of the Sept. 13 shooting, according to the lawyers.
Slazyk urged Judge Carlson to keep Denise O'Malley's bail at $750,000.
Eventually, Judge Carlson turned his attention to the video monitor set up in his courtroom.
"Mrs. O'Malley, do you have any concerns at all for your safety?" Judge Carlson asked.
After a few seconds of pause, the Joliet woman responded, "Not at this time time."
Judge Carlson opted to reconvene the courtroom proceedings for Monday, Oct. 19.
"I'm concerned with self-harm and the safety of the people at large," Judge Carlson told everyone.
Meanwhile, there is a $100,000 GoFundMe underway called the John O'Malley Benefit Fund. It was set up Oct. 6 and has already raised $12,609 thanks to 162 donors.
"On September 13th, our dear friend John O’Malley was shot two times in Plainfield Il. John was shot once in the chest and once in the leg. Thankfully, John is doing well and we are praying he makes a full recovery. John is devoted to his family and community, working for over 30 years at the Cook County Sheriff’s Office," the GoFundMe reads.