Thomas Gilbert Jr trial: How a can of Coke swayed a jury to declare Princeton graduate guilty of murdering his millionaire father
During the trial, it emerged that the accused had requested a can of Coke and sandwich in an attempt to get his mother out of the house, and that is when the jurors reached their conclusion.
As the 12 jurors deliberated over Princeton graduate Thomas Gilbert Jr's guilt during his murder trial for the past two days, they finally hinged their decision on one can of Coke. The jury, on Friday, rejected Gilbert Jr's claims of insanity and found him guilty of murdering his hedge fund millionaire father, Thomas Gilbert Sr, in 2015 at their Upper East Side home in New York.
During the trial, it emerged that the accused had requested a can of Coke and sandwich in an attempt to get his mother out of the house and that is when the jurors concluded that it proved he had premeditated his father's murder. Gilbert Jr's mother, Shelley Gilbert, during the trial testified that her son knew it well that they do not keep Coke in the house, therefore, his request for the soda eventually proved to be the smoking gun for the jurors.
Juror no 11 Steven David Torres said: "The can of coke: it was really our 'aha' moment." While jurors no 10 Corcelles-Alvarez said: "It was all about money. He just shot him in cold blood."
Torres also mentioned that the majority of the juror panel had believed that the 35-year-old did suffer from a severe mental illness but "not at that moment he committed the crime," the Daily Mail reported. The accused was enraged after his parents had slashed his allowance and the subsequent murder and his attempt to cover it up suggested that he was clear-headed while committing it.
Gilbert Jr. now faces 25 years in prison for second-degree murder. He shot his father in the head after telling his mother to go out to get him a Coke and a sandwich He then staged the scene to make it looks like his 70-year-old father had committed suicide. Reports said that he had shot his father with a 40-caliber Glock pistol, he bought the gun from Ohio to carry out the killing.
Gilbert Jr. later confessed to the crime saying that he pulled the trigger in the midst of a psychotic break. The prosecutors, however, convinced the jury successfully that the crime was not committed during a lapse of insanity and was calculated.
Prosecutors, during the trial, described the 35-year-old as a troubled young man, who had an "easy life handed to him on a silver platter" and failed to make his own way in life. According to the prosecutors, Gilbert Jr developed an irrational hatred of his father despite the $1,000 per-week allowance he gave him for many years. His father, however, had been gradually reducing his allowance and on the day he died, he had reduced it from $400 to $300.
Assistant DA Craig Ortner, on Wednesday, said: "The defendant rejected hard work, instead, preferring an easy life handed to him on a silver platter. The free ride was going to an end," and the murder "wasn't a symptom of psychosis, it was a symptom of entitlement."
"The timing shows rationality. It disproves his insanity defense,' the prosecutor said in his closing argument. A truly insane person kills for no reason at all. They strike seemingly at random times and places. That's not the case here."
Gilbert Sr. had recently set up a hedge fund but had been turned down for a $1.5million loan to finance it.
The defense, however, claimed that Gilbert Jr. was unable to keep a job because he was schizophrenic and that is why his parents supported him. His mother testified for the defense saying her son was mentally ill.
"Tommy was far sicker than we ever really knew," she said earlier this year. Shelley had made the call to 911 years ago, and when asked by the operator about who had shot her husband, she said: "My son. He's nuts, but I didn't know he was this nuts. He shot him in the head."