Less than a month after he was sentenced to 23 years in prison for the shooting death of his brother-in-law and attempted murder of his sister in their Northfield home in 2018, John Gately, is asking the court to toss his guilty plea.
Gately, 71, of Winnetka, pleaded guilty to one count of first degree murder at the Skokie courthouse on Aug. 19 and was sentenced by Cook County Circuit Court Judge Anjana MJ Hansen, to 23 years in prison, with credit for time served and three years of supervised release, according to the Cook County States Attorney’s office.
Gately recently filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea and the court is scheduled to address his motion during a Sept. 27 hearing at the Skokie courthouse, the Cook County States Attorney’s office said this week.
Gately was charged with first degree murder in August, 2018 for shooting and killing his brother-in-law, Stephen Shapiro, 72, and with attempted murder, for allegedly trying to shoot his sister, Joan Shapiro, in their Northfield home.
Shapiro was a prominent Chicago-area attorney with the Mayer Brown law firm, where he was the founder and senior member of the firm’s Supreme Court practice, according to the company’s website. He was also Gately’s brother-in-law.
At the time of the crime, prosecutors said Gately carried out the cold-blooded shooting after his sister told him she could no longer financially support him.
On the evening of the shooting, Stephen and Joan Shapiro were at their home at the 200 block of Latrobe Avenue, Northfield, when Gately arrived and told Stephen he wanted to talk with his sister, prosecutors said. They said that when Stephen told Gately his sister was not available, Gately shot Stephen several times.
Gately then went into the living room, pointed the gun at his sister and said “I’m going to kill you,” said prosecutors. They said the gun didn’t go off and Joan Shapiro was able to escape the house and call 911.
Later that evening police surrounded Gately’s home in the 1000 block of Tower Road in Winnetka where Gately had barricaded himself in his apartment, prosecutors said adding that at one point he attempted to use a rope tied to his balcony to escape. He was taken into custody by a SWAT team later that night.
In 2019 Gately asked a judge to allow him to sell 6 guns he owned so he could pay for his defense attorney and other expenses. Gately was ordered held without bond since his 2018 arrest.
His attorney could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
Brian L. Cox is a freelance reporter with Pioneer Press.