A schizophrenic Princeton grad who murdered his hedge-fund father for cutting his allowance will spend the next 30 years to life behind bars — despite a desperate plea from the man’s mother to “give him a chance.”
Thomas Gilbert Jr., 34, was sentenced Friday for fatally shooting his father, Thomas Gilbert Sr., in the head at his parents’ Midtown Manhattan home on Jan. 4, 2015.
The killing came after the elder Gilbert, a hedge-fund manager, slashed his son’s weekly allowance from $1,000 to $300. Prosecutors said Gilbert Jr. manipulated his mother into going to the store to buy Coke so that he could murder his father without witnesses.
Prior to her son’s sentencing, a tearful Shelley Gilbert asked the court to impose a lenient sentence because of her son’s severe mental health issues. She insisted that her dead husband would share her views.
“I wish you and everybody in court today could have known my son Tommy before he was struck by schizophrenia,” Gilbert said. “Our hearts have been shattered by the loss of a husband and son, a father and brother.
“I ask that you give him a chance and give him hope for his future — not just for him but for us as well. I know this is what my husband would have wanted for him," she said.
Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Melissa Jackson acknowledged Thomas Gilbert Jr. suffered from mental health issues but still imposed the maximum sentence.
“You had a plan to kill your father, and you had a ruse all set up to get your mother out of the house,” Judge Jackson said. “You knew exactly what you were doing. You were not insane then and you’re not insane now.”
Gilbert received 25 years on the top charge of second-degree murder and five years on weapons charges, to be served consecutively.
During the month-long trial, jurors heard the 911 call in which Gilbert’s mother told cops she believed her son had killed his father.
“I didn’t know he was this nuts,” she said on the call. “He shot him in the head.”
Assistant District Attorney Craig Ortner called the man a “narcissist” who meticulously planned the murder.
“I don’t know and I don’t think we’ll ever know if he gave Thomas Gilbert Sr. a chance to beg for his life,” Ortner said. “This was a cold, calculated murder committed by a 30-year-old man.”
Gilbert — who was prone to erratic outbursts at trial and often refused to come — was found guilty in June.
He referred to himself in third person at his sentencing Friday, saying, “Defendant expresses remorse” and mentioning “strong family ties.”
Before his health started to decline, Gilbert was an ambitious student who excelled in calculus and spoke conversational Chinese, his mother said. He showed promise at the exclusive Massachusetts boarding school Deerfield Academy and would go on to study at Princeton University.
“Perhaps if you had taken your medication we would not be here today,” Judge Jackson said. “My hope is that while you’re in prison, you take your medication.”
Outside the courthouse, Gilbert’s mother said her slain husband wouldn’t have wanted such a harsh sentence.
“(Gilbert Sr.) wouldn’t want Tommy locked up. He’d want him in a hospital,” she said. “He loved him.”