Was Police Captain Michael O’Mara murdered with his own gun or did he commit suicide?
To those who knew him best, Captain Michael O’Mara was the straightest of straight arrows. He was a devoted husband, a loving father, and the only officer in the Cook County Sheriff’s Police trained at the FBI Academy. In the 1960s, O’Mara became famous for leading raids on the Illinois Mafia.
By 1988, Michael had been moved to a desk job in the records department and was getting ready for a quiet retirement. It should have been the gentle twilight of a brilliant career, but it never happened.
On May 30th, 1988, a patrolman pulled into the private service area at the Cook County Courthouse to gas up his car. An unmarked police car was parked at the pump, with the gas nozzle in the tank. There was no officer in sight.
As the patrolman’s flashlight searched the lawn around the service area, he caught a glimpse of a gruesome scene. Michael O’Mara’s body was slumped over a rock in the middle of the lawn. He had been shot once through the forehead. His wallet and his briefcase had not been touched. There was no sign of a robbery.
James Houlihan, a Sergeant for the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department, was one of the first officers to arrive on the scene:
Two weeks after Michael O’Mara died, the Coroner determined his death was a suicide. Michael’s friends and family felt there had been a rush to judgment. Despite the coroner’s ruling, they were convinced that Michael had been murdered.
The last person known to see Michael alive was his wife Barbara:
Barbara hired Dr. Vincent DiMaio to review the coroner’s findings and the events leading up to Michael’s death:
Based on his investigation, Dr. DiMaio believes that Michael was murdered:
William Burke was the Chief of the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department:
If Michael O’Mara was murdered, what was the motive? Could it have been a long lost enemy from the past? The police still stay Michael’s death was a suicide and consider the case closed.
But Dr. DiMaio points to one additional fact that he believes rules out suicide:
According to Chief William Burke, Michael knew what he was doing when he pulled the trigger:
What happened to Captain Michael O’Mara on the night of May 30th, 1988? Is it possible he chose to end his own life? Or is his killer still at large? His friends and family believe the answer is obvious. Michael O’Mara was not a man to commit suicide.