After repeated outbursts in court, a judge threatened to remove a man accused of killing his wealthy father from the courtroom after giving him a “final warning.”
Thomas Gilbert Jr., 34, who is on trial for shooting his hedge fund manager father in the head in January 2015 after his weekly allowance was slashed, repeatedly yelled out “objection” during his mother’s testimony on the stand, prompting his attorney to request a new mental competency exam.
“He refuses to meet with me,” defense lawyer Arnold Levine said, according to The New York Daily News. “He’s affirmatively undermining and sabotaging my ability to defend him.”
But Judge Melissa Jackson denied the request.
Gilbert Jr. repeatedly shouted “objection” as his own attorney was cross-examining his mother, Shelley Gilbert.
Shelley Gilbert reluctantly took the stand for the prosecution to reveal how she had discovered her husband Thomas Gilbert, Sr., laying on the floor with blood coming out of his head, shortly after their estranged son had unexpectedly arrived at their Manhattan apartment on Jan. 4, 2017.
She told the 911 operator that she believed her son had likely shot her husband because he was “nuts.”
Her son became particularly agitated during her cross-examination when Shelley Gilbert described the once close relationship the father and son had shared together.
She told the jury that the pair used to attend a day camp together in Connecticut.
“They went to sporting events and hung out and had a good time,” she said, according to The New York Post.
But, as Shelley Gilbert recalled the day camp, a gaunt and disheveled Gilbert Jr. shouted out “Objection! Belligerent!” and rocked back and forth in his seat.
After repeated outbursts, Jackson gave Gilbert Jr. a stern warning during a break from testimony.
“This cannot continue,” she said. “This is going to be my final warning to you. If you continue to do this over the course of today … I will have you removed.”
Gilbert Jr. requested the judge appoint a new defense attorney after spouting incoherent references to the First and Fourth amendments, but Jackson denied the request, according to The Daily Mail.
Levine claimed the ramblings were further evidence that his client was mentally incompetent.
“His objection has no basis in law. He has been undermining me. Everything he has been doing so far, even during jury selection, is not competent,” he said.
Shelley Gilbert also spoke of her son’s ongoing mental health struggles during her cross-examination. She told jurors that her son was once a talented student excelling in calculus and speaking conversational Chinese while attending the exclusive boarding school, Deerfield Academy.
She said his mental health began to deteriorate his senior year after becoming convinced that his roommate had been contaminated.
He went on to graduate from Princeton but became increasingly “out of touch” with reality, she said.
“It was very hard because we were very close historically,” she said of the family. “We were a very happy family.”
The defense has argued that Gilbert Jr.’s spiraling mental health ultimately drove his client's actions, while the prosecution contends that Gilbert Jr. knew right from wrong and meticulously planned the killing.
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