A can of Coke reportedly swayed jury in case of Princeton grad found guilty of murdering father after his allowance was cut

Business Insider US
Thomas Gilbert, Jr. appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court on Friday, January 9, 2015.
Jefferson Siegel/NY Daily News via Getty Images
  • A 34-year-old Princeton graduate and hedge-fund heir was convicted of killing his 70-year-old father after being cut off from most of his $1,000 (R14,000) weekly allowance.
  • The New York Post reported that jurors had fixated on Gilbert's request his mother leave the family's apartment to get him a soda, and the detail ultimately led to a guilty verdict.
  • Throughout the trial, Gilbert's lawyers pointed to his long history with mental health troubles, including severe delusions. However, jurors said the soda detail captured him as a calculating attacker.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.

Multiple jurors weighing accusations that a 29-year-old Princeton graduate and hedge-fund heir shot his 70-year-old father in the head in 2015 after being cut off from most of his $1,000 weekly allowance reportedly settled on a guilty verdict that hinged on the detail of a Coke can.

Thomas Gilbert Jr., who is now 34, was convicted in Manhattan on June 28 for the murder of his millionaire father after weeks of trial proceedings, where prosecutors insisted the murder followed a petty dispute over Gilbert's allowance.

The New York Post reported that the small detail of a Coca Cola soda tied into the official account of events of the moments leading up to the murder of Gilbert's father was an "''aha' moment" for the jury, which was initially split.

Several jurors told the Post that the detail of the younger Gilbert insisting his mother leave the family's apartment to get him a sandwich and a soda betrayed the defense's argument that he was acting under mental illness, and instead painted a picture of a calculating attacker.

Gilbert's mother, Shelley, had testified that he knew she didn't keep the beverage in the home.

"It was all about money. He just shot him in cold blood," Corcelles-Alvarez, juror no. 10, told the Post of the attack.

The reported reason for the guilty verdict captures what several witnesses said of Gilbert during the trial.

One former girlfriend, Briana Ressner, told the court she recalled Gilbert becoming "scared" and "upset" when he discovered his father would reduce his allowance to just $300 per week.

"He was concerned about getting cut off financially," Ressner said, the New York Times reported.

Throughout the trial, Gilbert's lawyers painted the picture of a troubled person. His longtime psychiatrist testified earlier this month that he had treated Gilbert for years and diagnosed him with severe compulsive disorder, depressive disorder, paranoid disorder, and psychosis.

Bizarre details of his delusions emerged through the trial, including his suspicion that "Saturday Night Live" had been mocking him in its sketches for years, according to The Times.

Gilbert is due back in Manhattan Supreme Court August 9 for sentencing.

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