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— And then there was the issue of the father's brandishing a gun against his son. Beau Maloney Sr. did not mention it in his pretrial statements. But Espinoza recalls that Sean Maloney already told police that his father had gotten Beau John to leave the house by pointing the gun at him. When he testified at trial, therefore, Maloney Sr. finally admitted to chasing Beau John away with the gun.

The effect of these considerations in the jury's mind, thinks Espinoza, was to call the senior Maloney's credibility into question. Maloney's credibility was further compromised, says Espinoza, when the defense put his first wife Aileen on the witness stand. The clincher in destroying Maloney Sr.'s credibility, he says, was that Aileen and another witness produced by the defense both testified that Maloney was "a liar."

The jury acquitted the defendant on the charges of assault with a deadly weapon. San Diego County criminal records indicate that Beau John Maloney's altercation with his father and half-brother in 1998 was not his only legal problem during his San Diego stay. Two warrants for his arrest are still outstanding, and when he finally left San Diego, he skipped a bail of $5000.

Laureen Maloney says that her silent husband is the only person who can elucidate his son's additional troubles with local law enforcement. But she does believe that Beau John left San Diego right before a psychiatric evaluation that his probation required he receive. Both she and her husband, says Mrs. Maloney, always believed that Beau John's violent temperament was caused by drugs. Before the assault with a deadly weapon trial, according to the court record, Maloney Sr. told police that his son had "a history of drug abuse" and that "the defendant becomes violent when he uses methamphetamine."

But now, due to her explorations on the Internet, Laureen Maloney is not so sure. After leaving San Diego, according to an April 26 Houston Chronicle article she read, her stepson got into trouble with the law in Florida, North Carolina, and New Mexico before arriving in Texas. He was arrested three times in Texas before killing Helen Orman earlier this year.

The Internet also was the source of Laureen's first learning, she says, that Texas mental health providers had diagnosed her stepson as schizophrenic. The website www.click2houston.com/news reported on March 21, "Harris County records show Maloney was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder during the last several years. The suspect has a long history of mental illness, including treatments at state mental health facilities and being prescribed antipsychotic drugs."

Either the "long history of mental illness" did not extend back as far as Beau John Maloney's stay in San Diego, or someone failed to inform local authorities.

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