A judge has reversed another judge’s decision and ordered a convicted murderer, who was released after allegedly attacking his wife in Crystal Lake, detained pending trial.
The Crystal Lake Police Department issued an alert to law enforcement agencies in the Chicago area around 12:35 p.m. last Wednesday in regard to a domestic battery incident that occurred near Planet Fitness, 5320 Northwest Highway in Crystal Lake.
Witnesses advised that a man battered a woman several times before entering a vehicle and fleeing the area, according to the Wonder Lake Police Department.
The alert provided officers with a suspect description and vehicle description. The suspect was identified as Charles C. Gozzola, 49, of Wonder Lake.
McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Brian Miller said that the victim was Gozzola’s wife.
The woman was struck in the head with a water bottle and pulled into a vehicle against her will, Miller said.
Wonder Lake officers located the vehicle at their residence in the 8700 block of Pebble Creek Court in Wonder Lake around 12:50 p.m. Wednesday.
Officers obtained probable cause that Gozzola and the victim were located inside a residence, police officials said.
The McHenry County Sheriff’s Police, McCullom Lake Police Department and the Wonder Lake Fire Protection District responded to the incident.
Officers attempted to make contact with the occupants but were unsuccessful.
“Exigent circumstances” existed due to imminent concerns for the safety and well-being of the victim, police officials said.
Officers forced entry to the residence and located the victim and Gozzola around 1:45 p.m.
Officers arrested Gozzola pursuant to criminal charges from the Crystal Lake Police Department and provided medical treatment for the victim.
“Officers of the Wonder Lake Police Department will never hesitate to provide safety and aid to victims within our community. We are thankful that this situation was able to be resolved quickly and safely,” Wonder Lake Police Chief Lee Redlin said.
Gozzola was initially charged with one count of domestic battery, a Class A misdemeanor. He has now been additionally charged with aggravated battery in a public place, a Class 3 felony.
The incident in the Crystal Lake parking lot was observed by three independent witnesses, Miller said. The victim is not cooperating with law enforcement.
In 2002, Gozzola was convicted of second-degree murder in Cook County for fatally shooting his then-wife.
The Chicago Tribune reported in 2000 that Gozzola tried staging the murder as a suicide and then tried framing his two young children in the shooting.
The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office filed a petition to detain Gozzola pending trial, calling him a real and present threat.
McHenry County Judge Jennifer Johnson denied the petition and allowed Gozzola to be released pending trial in the domestic battery case during a court hearing last week.
Prosecutors asked for several conditions of pre-trial release but Johnson did not impose a firearm surrender for Gozzola and also did not issue a no-contact order between him and the victim.
Miller argued in a motion that the court should have imposed those two conditions pursuant to state law.
On Thursday, the same day Gozzola was released, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office responded to two 911 calls made by neighbors who were concerned about fighting coming from the couple’s home.
Deputies met with Gozzola and his wife and the victim was again uncooperative and said nothing happened, Miller said.
Miller said Gozzola was not arrested because there was no prior court order in place restricting him from being around his wife.
The motion asked the court to reconsider its ruling and deny pre-trial release to Gozzola due to the danger he poses or alternatively impose additional pre-trial release conditions.
A hearing on the motion took place Tuesday before McHenry County Judge Michael Feetterer.
The judge granted prosecutors’ request to have Gozzola detained pending trial.
Feetterer found that Gozzola poses a real and present threat to the community or victim and that there were no conditions of release that could mitigate the risk.
“Three different witnesses saw the defendant batter his wife in a public location. There is little motive for three strangers to fabricate seeing the battery,” Feetterer said.
The judge said Gozzola is a danger to his wife based on the domestic battery incident and because of his conviction for killing his previous wife.
Feetterer acknowledged the victim in the case has been unwilling to cooperate with law enforcement but said there is no reason to believe that any conditions of Gozzola’s release will keep her safe.
A status of trial hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.