Thomas Gilbert Jr. ’09, who allegedly shot and killed his father Thomas Gilbert Sr. ’66 lastJanuary, has been ruled mentally competent to stand trial.
Gilbert Jr. could not be reached for comment.
In September, two court-appointed psychiatrists initially found Gilbert Jr. unfit to stand trial. This finding was challenged by the prosecution, led by Prosecutor Craig Ortner, who requested another opinion from its chosen expert, Dr. Stuart Kirschner of John Jay College. Kirschner's evaluation held Gilbert Jr. as mentally competent to stand trial.
Kirschner did not respond to requests for comment.
In a New York Post article, Ortner said that Gilbert Jr. might suffer from mental illness but that this does not make him unfit to stand trial.
Ortner declined to comment.
Acting Supreme Court Justice for New York County and Supervising Judge of the New York County Criminal Court Melissa Jackson, who is presiding over the case, accepted Kirschner's finding, ruled Gilbert Jr. fit to stand trial on Dec. 21, 2015.
“Despite the competing testimony of the experts in this case, the court finds the defendant competent to stand trial,” Jackson wrote of Gilbert Jr. in adecisionissued Dec. 21 by the Manhattan Supreme Court.
Gilbert Jr.’s mental competency cannot be contested again until after a ruling is made, at which point the ruling on his competency may be appealed.
Jackson declined to comment, citing New York state law which prohibits judges from commenting on pending matters.
“The bar to competency is so low that even the most mentally ill are forced to go to trial, so we’re going to go to trial,” Alex Spiro, Gilbert Jr.’s defense lawyer, said.
In January 2015, Gilbert Jr. allegedly shot his father, who was giving his son $2,400 per month for rent and $600 for spending money and had announced plans to cut the sum to $400 per month. Gilbert Jr, who was allegedly in debt at the time of the dispute, allegedly visited his father's apartment and requested that his mother get him a sandwich, forcing her to leave the room while he allegedly shot his father in the head on the day of the incident.
After being arrested in his home, Gilbert Jr. was taken to the 17th precinct in midtown Manhattan and charged with murder. He pleaded not guilty at the time of his arrest.