Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Florida woman charged with killing her husband released on bail.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Ellen Gilland
I rarely comment on cases of murder, but Ellen Gilland (76) was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of her husband, Jerry Gilland (77)  and aggravated assault for attacking a police officer on January 21, 2023 in Daytona Beach Florida. Gilland claims that she shot her husband as part of a "failed" murder-suicide pact. Acts of murder-suicide may have other mitigating factors but a person consenting to be killed should not change the charges for the killer.

The Associated Press Reported:

A 76-year-old woman accused of fatally shooting her terminally ill husband in a Florida hospital was released on $150,000 bond Friday night.

Ellen Gilland was initially charged with first-degree murder in January after police said she shot Jerry Gilland, 77, in a suicide pact that she claimed had been in the works for weeks. However, she could not carry through with turning the gun on herself after shooting her husband in his 11th-floor AdventHealth Daytona Beach hospital room, Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young said at a news conference after the Jan. 21 incident.

Instead, Gilland engaged in a four-hour standoff with police officers. They eventually used a nonlethal explosive to distract her and take her into custody, Young said. She had been held at the Volusia County Jail since her arrest. Jail records show she was released Friday night.

On Wednesday, Gilland was indicted on lesser charges of assisting self-murder/manslaughter and aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer.

I am concerned that the lesser charge is based on the claim that her actions were based on a murder/suicide pact. There may be other mitigating factors, but first degree murder is based on clear planning and carrying out of a murder, which appears to have happened in this case.

The concept that prosecutors will lessen the charge when a person appears to have consented to being killed is a concern since acts of killing should not be based on the motivation of the person who has been killed but rather the motivation of the killer.

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