34-Year-Old Ivy League Graduate Convicted of Killing Father Who Cut Off Allowance

June 29, 2019 Updated: June 29, 2019

A New York jury has rejected the insanity defense of a 34-year-old man who shot his wealthy father after his parents reduced the $1,000-a-week allowance that supported his lavish lifestyle.

Thomas Gilbert Jr., who was 30 at the time, was convicted on June 28 of second-degree murder, and now faces a possible life sentence, according to the Manhattan District Attorney.

His father, Thomas Gilbert, was a highly successful hedge fund manager with four decades of experience on Wall Street.

Gilbert Jr., a Princeton football player who graduated with a degree in economics, shot him in the head in his Manhattan apartment on Jan. 4, 2015.

According to the prosecution, Gilbert Jr., who was unemployed at the time, relied on a monthly allowance to keep his lavish lifestyle, spending it on travel, memberships to elite sporting clubs, and other personal expenses.

Thomas Gilbert Jr. (Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office)

“The defendant rejected hard work, instead, preferring an easy life handed to him on a silver platter,” Assistant District Attorney Craig Ortner said in his closing argument earlier this week, according to the New York Post.

“It wasn’t until the dad started cutting off his money that the defendant decided to kill him,” said Ortner, reported CNN during the trial coverage. “Literally hours before he was killed, [his father] further cut his allowance to $300.”

According to the DA, at the beginning of the previous year, his parents had begun to encourage him to become more self-sufficient and incrementally reduced his monthly allowance.

Six months later, in June 2014, “the defendant purchased a .40-caliber Glock handgun, corresponding ammunition, and firearm enhancements,” said the DA’s office.

His computer showed searches for websites such as “Hire-a-Killer.com” and “Find-a-Hitman.com” in November, prosecutors told the court, according to CNN.

On Jan. 4, he walked into his parent’s apartment and shot his father with the Glock, before then placing the gun in his father’s hand to fake a suicide.

Gilbert Jr. was absent for much of his five-week trial, according to local reports, and was kicked out of the courtroom by the judge on one occasion for an outburst at the jury.

Gilbert Jr. had admitted to shooting his father, but had put forward an insanity defense. According to The Associated Press, he has schizophrenia and other psychiatric problems.

However, his lawyers were unable to convince the jury that his mental state was such that he had lost the ability to tell right from wrong—as is required for a successful insanity defense under New York law.

Forensic psychiatrist Jason Hershberger testified that he had read Gilbert Jr.’s medical records and records related to the incident, according to CNN.

He said that Gilbert Jr.’s attempts to conceal his crime—such as faking a suicide, hiding from police, and turning off his phone locator—suggested he knew that he was doing wrong.

“In my opinion, anyone who attempts to conceal his behavior around a crime does so because they’re aware of what they’re doing is wrong,” he testified.

Gilbert Jr.’s former girlfriend, Anna Rothschild, who dated him for a year before he shot his father, told the court he was “introverted and oddly quiet,” according to the New York Post.

“He talked a lot about his dad and how mean he was to him and how nothing was good enough,” she said.“He’s very much a loner. His phone never rang. No one texted him or called him,” said Rothschild. “The one time it rang in four months while we were together, it was his mother.”

His father was described as a “brilliant businessman, passionate tennis player, and beloved family man” by District Attorney Cyrus Vance in a statement. “But in spite of all his love and generosity, this defendant shot his father at close range in his own apartment in an unconscionable and brutal crime.”

Gilbert Jr. was also convicted of two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 9.

Follow Simon on Twitter: @SPVeazey
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