Kevin O’Malley wasn’t from Chicago, but his story hits home.
The 25-year-old from south suburban Palos Park was shot and killed in the Lakeview neighborhood in 2015 during what prosecutors called an armed robbery gone wrong.
They alleged that Kristopher Pitts, then 22, of Humboldt Park, robbed O’Malley of his wallet and cellphone as O’Malley was walking in Lakeview at around 2 a.m. on May 30, 2015.
O’Malley fought back, prosecutors said, and Pitts shot him twice in the chest.
O’Malley was found unresponsive. Pitts was seen on surveillance video scaling a nearby building and attempting to climb onto a CTA platform. When police arrested him, Pitts was missing a shoe—his other shoe was found near the crime scene.
Pitts was charged with armed robbery and murder.
Unbelievably, on Aug. 28, he was acquitted of first- and second-degree murder and found guilty of only involuntary manslaughter.
The conviction brings a sentence of two to five years in prison, but according to NBC Chicago, Pitts will likely be released within a year due to time served.
Out on bond when he shot O’Malley, Pitts was awaiting trial for threatening police with a 2-foot-long machete in February 2014; he was charged with two counts of aggravated assault.
If Pitts is released within a year, it will be hard for citizens to believe the justice system truly felt O’Malley’s life meant anything.
That a man convicted of a violent crime while he was out on bond for another violent crime and spends only a few years in prison is an outrage.
Whether Pitts sits in prison for one day or the rest of his life, it won’t bring O’Malley back, but the O’Malley Family is rightfully heartbroken by the verdict.
“It’s been a long four years of waiting for justice,” a loved one posted on Facebook. “Although this was not the verdict we could have ever imagined, this will not deter us from still living every day the Kevin O’Malley way.”
O’Malley studied accounting at the University of Iowa, and a scholarship for accounting students has been established there in his memory.
More information is available online at uiowa.academicworks.com.
The scholarship fund is now part of O’Malley’s legacy and will help students of accounting, but it’s certain that many of them will be demanding accountability from the justice system in Chicago.