Rich Kids Killers: a Profile of Three Murderers

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Thomas Gilbert Jr. and Thomas Gilbert Sr. (top right)


Thomas Gilbert Jr.
had it all: the good looks, a Princeton education, his own apartment in New York City and a $3,000 a monthly stipend from his exceedingly wealthy father, Gilbert Sr., a millionaire hedge-fund founder. It was when his father cut his monthly allowance by $200 that Gilbert allegedly decided to kill his 70-year-old dad.

It was January 4, 2015 when Gilbert showed up uninvited to his parents’ home. He asked his mother for a sandwich. When she returned, she found her husband’s body on their bedroom floor with a gunshot wound to the head and a .40-caliber Glock resting on his chest.

“My husband’s been shot by my son!” she told 911 operators.

When police showed up at Gilbert’s Chelsea apartment, he said, “Hello, sir. I’m on the phone with my lawyer.”

After being taken into custody, Gilbert ate two slices of pizza, an Egg McMuffin, an apple and a sandwich. He even bragged to police about how he stayed in such good shape and asked to speak with his lawyer three times.

The police found ammunition for a .40-caliber Glock in Gilbert’s childhood home in the Hamptons. His alleged attempt to stage his father’s suicide was a huge failure.

“I seek to have my client evaluated,” said Thomas’s attorney Alex Spiro, after Gilbert was charged. Looks like there will be an insanity plea when this case goes to trial. FTK will keep you updated.

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Ethan Couch (right) and the four victims who didn’t make it

 

In 2013, Ethan Couch was 16 and driving with a blood alcohol content of .24 (three times the legal limit for an adult) at 70 miles an hour in a 40-mile-an-hour zone. Couch also had valium in his system. He plowed into four pedestrians, all of whom were killed. Others were severely injured, and one suffered severe brain damage. Afterwards, Couch was belligerent with Emergency Services workers and walked away from police saying, “I’m outta here.”

Couch pleaded guilty to the crime, but his parents, who are extremely wealthy, hired an attorney who brought a psychologist to the stand to argue that Couch was “a product of wealth” and got “whatever he wanted.” He argued that Couch should get therapy instead of jail time.

While the defense argued for probation only, prosecutors pushed for a 20-year sentence. The Texas judge ruled in Couch’s favor, and he received only 10 years probation and no jail time.

 

In 2010, Emily Longley, a tall blonde model who friends called “Barbie,” was 16 years old when she began dating 19-year-old Elliot Turner, a very wealthy young man who worked in his father’s jewelry store in an affluent neighborhood in England. In 2011 Turner became jealous after seeing photographs of Emily flirting with another man at a bar on Facebook. They began to have fights that became so intense that Emily feared for her life.

On May 6, 2011 Turner talked Emily into spending the night with him at his parent’s house. At 9:45am the next morning Turner’s mother called 999 (England’s 911). Emily was dead. Even though Turner’s mother said the girl was turning blue, it was apparent to pathologists that the girl had been dead for several hours before the call.

Elliot Turner & Emily Long
Elliot Turner & Emily Long

Turner told police he’d gotten up for work and when he touched Emily’s arm it was cold. He then notified his parents that something was wrong. Forensic evidence, however, showed that Emily had been strangled. She had scratches on her arms and there were traces of Elliot’s blood and tissues under her fingernails. There was also a 30-minute lapse between the time Turner supposedly woke up and when his mother called for help. Detectives believed Turner’s parents destroyed and removed evidence.

After a month of surveillance of the Turner home, both Turner and his parents were arrested—Elliot for murder and his parents for obstruction of justice. All three pleaded not guilty. Elliot even claimed self-defense.

During the trial, friends of the defendant testified that Elliot had joked about killing Emily with a hammer, at one point telling one of the witnesses, “I will go to prison for it, and still be a millionaire when I get out.” According to one of these witnesses, the defendant also practiced his strangulation technique on a friend. According to Emily’s friend, Turner had said he was going to smash in Emily’s face and didn’t care if he had to serve 10 years for the assault.

A jury found Turner guilty, and the judge sentenced Turner to 16 years to life. Turner’s parents were both sentenced to 27 months behind bars. Sometimes, there’s justice, even for the filthy rich.

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