Cory Gilmartin (Cook County Sheriff's Office photo)

The man charged with murdering a retired Evanston attorney once tried to trade his car for a motel room, and then asked the motel clerk “if they were still in the United States,” according to police documents in Utah.

Those allegations are among the details in a Richfield, Utah, police report about 34-year old Cory Gilmartin. Gilmartin was picked up on a DUI charge in Richfield on March 19.

Gilmartin now faces first degree murder charges in connection with the beating death of 71-year old Daniel Murray in the lobby of Murray’s apartment building at Chicago Avenue and Main Street in Evanston last month.

The Utah police report said Gilmartin tried to rent a room at a motel, but according to the manager, Gilmartin’s eyes “were very watery and did not appear normal.” The report said Gilmartin provided a debit card instead of an ID card, and went on to tell the manager “stories that did not make sense.”

Gilmartin’s debit card and another card were declined, so the manager refused to rent him a room. The manager then said Gilmartin went to sleep in his car in the motel parking lot.

Police were called. The responding officer said Gilmartin claimed he was waiting for his family to get him a room at the motel. The officer said Gilmartin’s eyes were glassy, his speech was slow, “and it appeared Cory had a hard time focusing on having a conversation with me.” Gilmartin said he was coming from Indiana, but couldn’t give an answer to where he was going.

“Cory advised that he is supposed to take medication,” the officer continued, “but hasn’t taken any in awhile.”

Gilmartin failed a series of field sobriety tests, and was arrested for DUI. The arresting officer stated that “it appeared that Cory had mental health issues.” The officer also said he “observed there was no luggage in the vehicle, which seemed odd for someone travelling from Indiana.”

Gilmartin gave the officer a phone number for someone he identified as Uncle Mike. When the officer called, he said it turned out that Mike was Cory’s father “and he was going to call the police the following day to report that Cory was missing.”

The father also told police that “Cory is not safe to drive because he is not taking his medications.” The officer said that Mike advised him that Cory has disappeared in the past and has been found in Washington, DC. Cory Gilmartin is from Mishawaka, Indiana.

The officer said Gilmartin had a dog with him in the car at the time of the arrest. “Michael [the father] made a comment,” the officer stated, “that he is more worried about the welfare of the dog than he is about the welfare of Cory.”

The DUI charges were ultimately dismissed in Utah because the toxicology screen came back negative, the police department says.

Just as police in Utah say Gilmartin made “strange statements” while trying to rent a room, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office says Gilmartin made “several nonsensical statements” after admitting to the Evanston assault.

Police say Gilmartin did not know the victim, and they do not know why Gilmartin was in Evanston.

Gilmartin is currently in the Cook County Jail and will be arraigned on the murder charge Friday morning.

He is represented by the Cook County Public Defender’s Office. David Dunne, Chief of the Public Defender’s Skokie Office, told Evanston Now that Gilmartin had pleaded not guilty to lesser charges which were filed before the victim died. Dunne had no additional comments regarding the case.

Related story

Murder charge expected in Evanston man’s death (12/4/20)

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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