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Attorney gives background of woman charged with shooting husband

By: Thomas Franz | C&G Newspapers | Published December 22, 2015

 Julie Kay Chimelak, 61, of Macomb Township, stands next to defense attorney Joseph Kosmala during a probable cause conference on Dec. 14. Chimelak faces a charge of second-degree murder following the fatal shooting of her husband on Nov. 25.

Julie Kay Chimelak, 61, of Macomb Township, stands next to defense attorney Joseph Kosmala during a probable cause conference on Dec. 14. Chimelak faces a charge of second-degree murder following the fatal shooting of her husband on Nov. 25.

Photo by Thomas Franz

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The probable cause conference in the case of a 61-year-old woman charged with fatally shooting her husband the day before Thanksgiving was delayed a week until Dec. 21 during its original hearing scheduled for Dec. 14.

Julie Kay Chimelak, of Macomb Township, is facing a life felony charge of second-degree murder following the shooting of her husband, Ronald George Chimelak, 75.

Although the results of a search warrant weren’t yet turned over in time for the probable cause conference, Chimelak’s defense attorney, Joseph Kosmala, provided information on Chimelak’s background.

Kosmala said that he had spent four hours over the course of two consultations with Chimelak prior to the conference, and learned that she has a history of medical disorders and mental disability.

“She’s competent. She knows what I do. She knows who the judge is. It would be for culpability, what her state of mind was on Wednesday the day before Thanksgiving when this happened,” Kosmala said after the conference.

“All of her medications lead one to think that she had some disabilities she was being treated for. I know she has been institutionalized on at least two occasions or possibly more. She has also been treated with mental health services for the last 20 years.”

Kosmala said Chimelak told him that she had not been institutionalized anytime recently. He also relayed that Chimelak was able to tell him what she believes occurred leading up to and during the course of the shooting.

According to reports from the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office, Chimelak called 911 at approximately 4:35 p.m. on Nov. 25 and said she accidentally shot her husband.

When deputies arrived at the scene, they found the man lying on his back on the floor of a room in the residence. The Sheriff’s Office reported that it appeared he had been shot once in the chest.

Chimelak was kneeling next to him while attempting to perform CPR when deputies arrived.

Deputies also attempted life-saving measures prior to when EMS staff arrived and took the man by ambulance to Henry Ford Macomb Hospital. He was pronounced dead at 5:20 p.m. that day.

A six-shot, .357-caliber revolver was recovered from a bedroom in the residence.

While talking with Chimelak, Kosmala said she denied having made any statements referring to “battered wife syndrome” at her arraignment on Nov. 30.

“I know she’s been in contact with another attorney. I don’t know if he may have suggested that or listened to what she had to say and said, ‘You’re a battered wife,’ and went with it that way. I think she probably was, but I don’t know if that has anything to do with what happened in this case,” Kosmala said. “If she made such statements at the arraignment, she doesn’t recall them or she didn’t make them.”

Kosmala said Chimelak readily admits that she called 911 and said she accidentally shot her husband.

“Everything she tells me is in conformity with an accident, an accidental discharge of the firearm,” Kosmala said.

The probable cause conference is set to resume at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 21 at Shelby Township 41-A District Court.

In addition to the second-degree murder charge, Chimelak also faces a 15-year manslaughter felony charge, and a two-year felony firearms charge.

Kosmala said Chimelak is being held in isolation on the mental health floor of the Macomb County Jail.

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