A Manhattan man who shot and killed his father after the millionaire hedge-funder cut his allowance, lived the good life — and didn’t want to have to work for it, prosecutors said Wednesday.
“The defendant rejected hard work, instead, preferring an easy life handed to him on a silver platter,” Assistant DA Craig Ortner said of pampered Yale grad Thomas Gilbert Jr. In closing statements at Gilbert’s patricide trial, Ortner described the 34-year-old’s life of leisure as an endless vacation.
He surfed, played golf hung out at country clubs and traveled the world all on his parents’ dime, the prosecutor told Manhattan Supreme Court jurors.
Gilbert attended the country’s most elite prep schools, Buckley and Deerfield Academy, then went on to graduate from Princeton.
The handsome blond surfer may have suffered from mental illness, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, but he was still capable of working, the prosecutor said.
“It wasn’t a symptom of psychosis, it was a symptom of entitlement,” Ornter said of Gilbert’s failures to find steady employment.
It was an act of “tough love” when Thomas Gilbert Sr., 70, began slashing his son’s weekly allowance — making the final reduction the morning of his murder.
“The free ride was going to an end,” Ortner said, as Gilbert scribbled notes on a legal pad.
On Jan. 4, 2015, Gilbert showed up at his parents’ Turtle Bay apartment and shot his father in the head before allegedly staging the scene to look like a suicide.
“The last thing Thomas Gilbert Sr. ever saw was his own son pressing a .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol into his head and pulling the trigger,” Ortner said.
He argued that Gilbert wasn’t in the midst of a psychotic break when he committed the heinous crime, he was just angry.
“This defendant didn’t want to grow up and be an adult and when his father tried to push him in that direction and cut his allowance, he threw the ultimate tantrum,” the prosecutor said.
Defense lawyer Arnold Levine told jurors that Gilbert suffered from schizophrenia and was too ill to maintain a job.
He criticized the prosecution’s psychiatric expert, Dr. Jason Hershberger, for concluding that Gilbert was sane when he shot his father, despite having never interviewed the defendant. Gilbert wouldn’t cooperate with either the prosecution or defense’s psychiatrists and has refused to attend much of his own trial.
He said that the elder Gilbert, who had recently founded the hedge fund Wainscott Capital, slashed his son’s allowance due to “cash flow problems.” Gilbert senior had just been turned down for a $1.5 million loan and could no longer afford to bankroll his son.
Levine said it wasn’t greed but delusions and paranoia that spurred him to murder.
“Tommy didn’t understand or appreciate the consequences of his actions,” the attorney said, urging the panel to find Gilbert not guilty by reason of mental defect.
The summations wrapped up four weeks of testimony, and the jury began deliberations Wednesday afternoon.