Madison - St. Clair Record

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Autopsy report shows attorney John M. Delaney Jr.'s blood had 'intoxicating levels' of alcohol, opiates at time of death

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Jan 3, 2018

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According to an autopsy report obtained through a FOIA request, East Alton attorney John M. Delaney Jr. died Aug. 3 due to a gunshot wound of the head with “intoxicating levels of alcohol and hydrocodone in the blood.”

The autopsy was performed by forensic pathologist Amanda Youmans at the McLean County Coroner’s Office Regional Autopsy Facility in Bloomington under the authority of Shelby County Coroner Brian Green. 

Delaney died around 12:30 p.m. in an undisclosed Shelby County hotel room. 


Delaney’s blood tested positive for ethanol, caffeine, acetaminophen, hydrocodone with metabolite, sertraline with metabolite and chlorpromazine. His urine tested positive for opiates. 

Hydrocodone is a morphine-like opiate. Acetaminophen is used to relieve pain and reduce fever. Sertraline is an antidepressant used to treat depression and anxiety. Chlorpromazine is used to treat certain mental and mood disorders. 

Delany, 60, was reported missing around 10 p.m. on Aug. 2 by his family. 

Jersey County Chief Deputy Sheriff Kevin Kalaas previously told the Record that Delaney had contacted his secretary at his East Alton office around 4 p.m. on Aug. 2 and told her that he wouldn’t be back in for the day.

After he was reported missing, the sheriff’s office pinged his phone, which showed that he was in Highland. 

He was found dead in a Shelby County hotel room around noon Aug. 3. 

Delaney worked as a sole practitioner at John Delaney Jr. Law in East Alton since 1997, where he focused on criminal defense, “difficult” family law matters, “those dealing with overwhelming debt,” and personal injury litigation. 

According to his firm’s website, Delaney began his legal career working as a law clerk for former Madison County Circuit Judge Joseph Barr in the late 1970s. 

Then in 1981, he worked as an assistant state’s attorney in Madison County until 1985. 

He later became a partner at the former law firm Smith, Allen, Mendenhall and Delaney in Alton from 1985-1996. He concentrated on civil litigation and criminal defense.

He opened his own practice in 1997. 

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