No, Texas Law Does Not Say You Can Shoot an Escort Who Refuses to Have Sex


A misreading of the verdict in a strange and upsetting Texas case has gone viral, since Gawker claimed: “Texas Says It’s OK to Shoot an Escort If She Won’t Have Sex With You.” Texas law does not say that, and the jury didn’t say that either. Pushing the idea that an “Insane Texas Law Made it Legal for a Man to Kill a Prostitute” is irresponsible; it misinforms the public and sends a terrible message to violent misogynists.

It is not in dispute that the defendant, Ezekiel Gilbert, paid the victim, Lenora Frago, $150 for 30 minutes of escort services advertised on Craigslist. After Frago refused to have sex with him, the defendant shot her. Frago was paralyzed and the defendant was charged with aggravated assault.  When she died seven months later Gilbert was indicted for murder instead.

At trial, defense attorneys made the shocking argument that Gilbert was justified in shooting Frago because she had stolen from him and Texas law permits the use of deadly force to defend one’s property at night. That a defense was raised in this case based on Texas’ awful defense of property law is certainly newsworthy and even more reason to reform that law. But there is no evidence that the jury acquitted based on the defense of property law in the first place.

The much more plausible reason for the verdict is that the jury believed the defendant’s claim that he didn’t intend to shoot the victim. Per Texas’ homicide statute, the prosecution needed to prove that Gilbert “intentionally or knowingly” killed Frago or intended to cause her “serious bodily injury.” The defense argued that Gilbert lacked the requisite intent for murder because when he shot at the car as Frago and the owner of the escort service drove away, he was aiming for the tire. The bullet hit the tire and a fragment, “literally the size of your fingernail,” according to Defense Attorney Bobby Barrera, hit Frago. Barrera does not believe the jury acquitted because of the defense of property law. He believes they acquitted because they believed Gilbert didn’t mean to shoot her.

Unless someone has interviewed a juror or can read minds, they cannot claim the jury agreed the killing was justified. And the juries do not “cite” laws. They find facts and decide “guilty” or “not guilty.” And it isn’t accurate to call Frago a “prostitute.” Witnesses for the prosecution testified she was an escort who never agreed to have sex. Rather than siding with the killer’s characterization, writers should at least say “alleged.”

One would expect the jury to find that shooting at a car with an AK-47 is at least “reckless,” in which case he could have been convicted of manslaughter. But the prosecution didn’t charge him with manslaughter, only murder. Manslaughter is a “lesser included offense” of murder and the judge is entitled to instruct the jury if the evidence supports that charge, but it appears she did not. The jury can’t convict on a charge that isn’t before them.

I think Texas’s defense of property law is abhorrent and my gut reaction was that it was a reprehensible defense. This reaction suggests, that you should think twice before hiring me as your defense attorney, sadly. As Professor Michael W. Martin of Fordham Law’s Federal Litigation Clinic reminded me: “If the law allows the defense, the lawyer must use it, if it is viable, unless there is a good strategic reason not to. Otherwise, it is ineffective assistance of counsel. If the lawyer feels like he is ethically barred from using a legal, viable defense, he should ask to be relieved.”

This story looks very different depending on whether you are looking at the law or at the reporting. Remember reporting? People used to get paid to go find facts and tell the public about them. That happens a lot less now. With many commentators and too few reporters, an alarmist story can have a long life in the echo chamber. But there are still some reporters, and a number of them, though probably stretched pretty thin, have engaged in that old-fashioned practice of going to court, making phone calls, interviewing people and checking facts for this very case. The San Antonio Express-News did not just start covering this case last week, that’s where to start if you want to follow this story as it develops.

This is a terrible story, a woman was killed and no one is going to prison. It is reasonable to be suspicious that prejudice based on her gender, race, or occupation led to that injustice. But all we know thus far is that the defendant received due process and a zealous defense. We don’t know that Texas’s terrible defense of property law had anything to do with him getting off. The vilification of this jury isn’t justified—we should give them the benefit of the doubt that they spent those 11 hours deliberating in good faith and did what they thought the law required. And in our concern for women and victims of violence, we must remember that even admitted killers still have rights.

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Follow Bridgette Dunlap on twitter: @bridgettedunlap

  • Christin Sander

    I’m sorry, but no. This man knowingly pulled a gun and shot at them over $150 – he murdered this woman plain and simple and no amount of talking around it changes that fact. Who was he to assume sex? Why does no one mention that the act of trying to buy sex is illegal? He murdered a woman and should have been held responsible – period. The moment he pulled a gun on people and shot it was the moment it was determined that did indeed intend serious bodily injury. What else was he going to do? If he “shot out the tire” (BS) he was then going to walk up and put the gun away and ask nicely for the money back? Give me a break. Not buying it. This was a shameful verdict.

    • Jodi Jacobson

      I believe you missed the point of the article. Bridgette did not argue that it was not a shameful act or a shameful verdict. She is pointing out the *legal* aspects of what happened, not commenting on whether it was bad or good. This is the problem with the distinctions we do or don’t make with legal versus other issues. Clearly, the prosecution here did not do its own job because they failed to charge him in ways that might have ensured justice was done. But you are arguing to the converted, because no one here believes that he should not have been held responsible. That is a different issue than whether the case was tried effectively under the law, and the basis on which the jury decided the verdict.

    • Tom Gerace

      Thing is Christian..you have to PROVE intent to convict on Murder. While I wish this guy had been convicted on something, the real issue here appears to be a failure to prove Intentional Murder beyond a reasonable doubt…there should have been a manslaughter option.

      • http://crissa.twu.net/ Crissa

        Then why are there any convictions for murder in Texas?

        • wygrif

          Because usually killers aim at victims instead of stuff near victims.

          • Lirex

            And what if you’re a bad shot? Does that mean that you can never be convicted of murder? He claims to have been aiming at the tires. I believe that he would have said anything to avoid going to prison.

          • Austin Mabry

            “Reasonable doubt.”

    • joe smith

      you really didn’t read the article , did you?

  • Jennifer Jonsson

    As is true of most court cases, the verdict here is getting headlines while the actual story behind the trial is getting lost in the outrage. People, take it from a paralegal; court cases are big complicated things. When my boss and I go to trial, we basically do nothing else but work on the trial for about a month beforehand. Trials take days, sometimes weeks or months. There are piles of paperwork involved. Multiple witnesses testify and the jury, twelve human beings, must then sort through all this information and come up with a verdict. When I see all of that effort boiled down to one ridiculous headline like “It’s Legal to Shoot Prostitutes In Texas,” I go nuts. I ask people these questions: Were you there every day of the trial? Were you on the jury? Did you deliberate with the other jurors? No? Then SHUT UP. You don’t know the first thing about what went on.

    • colleen2

      I will not shut up. I will continue to question obvious injustice. This was an obvious injustice.

      • RethinkThePink

        The sign of a functioning society is putting up with occasional injustices. Ask the prosecutor why she overcharged.

        • colleen2

          Oh, I see, you embrace the Antonin Scalia/Federalist Society/Teaparty school of ‘justice’.

          • Brendan O’Brien

            Wow, I’d say you know nothing about the federal society or scalia if you think this is a sympton of it.

          • colleen2

            It’s the Federalist Society. It would appear I know more than you

        • Lmaris

          So your hand is up to volunteer for the next injustice which involves death? Good to know.

    • Lmaris

      Here in Texas, a prosecutor can convict any poor person of first degree murder, based simply on a death caused by an individual or co-conspirator during the commission of another crime. In this case, the man expected to receive a sex act for the money he paid. That is a crime. End of story. Trying to justify the verdict based on assumptions not in evidence (jury deliberations are secret, therefore any claim of what they used to come up with the verdict is mere speculation) while disregarding the actual evidence produced, is absurd. Then again, there are still people who want to pretend justice is blind.

      • colleen2

        Thank you for making my point better than I have managed to, Lmaris

      • Sensei Devi

        And she was an escort not a prostitute, I wonder if the prosecution thought to mention the difference to the jury?

        • Enders_Shadow

          ROTFL: $150 for 30 minutes ‘escorting’.

          • Sensei Devi

            Professionals are paid by the hour or half hour for the services they perform so why would her pay be any more suspicious than the lawyer he has to retain to defend himself against murder charges? And yeah I would think $150 for being around a complete strange man who no doubt is a creep, spending any social time with him and then leaving is well worth the $150 that she has to split with her “pimp(?)” Check it out, you really do have escort agencies that pay for social time not for sex and that’s about the average fee.

      • Enders_Shadow

        There, and I thought it was juries that convicted, not prosecutors… Thank you for making that clear.
        The jury decided that it was not an offence of murder, which is usually defined as the deliberate killing of a person when intending to do so. Which seems totally accurate.

    • Sensei Devi

      I think he should be in jail and I don’t think the case was handled appropriately but I see your point. A lot of bloggers are all about the hyper-reaction and getting clicks to appear relevant so they can leverage themselves to get on pundit shows for their career.
      The unfortunate thing is we’ll never know the full story because she isn’t here to defend herself.

  • Zarb0n

    Other than giving the author something to write about there’s probably no reason to assume a man wasn’t acquitted because of his defense.

    • RethinkThePink

      If you’ve ever served on a jury – or if you have any respect and appreciation for the criminal justice system – you’d understand how silly that sounds. Statutory charges mean something. And if the Murder One statute in Texas reads as most, it’s nearly impossible to get a conviction in a case like this.

      • colleen2

        They get murder one convictions in Texas ALL THE TIME. It’s just that in this case the defendant was a white male with enough money to pay a defense lawyer. The notion that we’re required to respect or appreciate a criminal justice system that produces such a blatantly unjust result is just insulting.

        • RethinkThePink

          Read this again: IN CASES LIKE THIS.

          • colleen2

            The difference in this case is that the murderer was a fat little white guy with enough money to afford a defense while the murdered person was brown and a woman.

            That said, if you wish to communicate it helps to use complete sentences and remove the caps lock.

          • canaduck

            And not just a brown woman, but a “dirty” and “impure” one.

          • colleen2

            Good point. In this case a dirty and impure woman who refused to perform sex acts or be a prostitute. damn

          • Sensei Devi

            Well, have you personally seen a picture of her to know she was “brown”? Most Hispanics are in the olive spectrum and you have white Hispanics. Olive is something you can see in Europe and you really don’t know how blended she was. Louise C.K. looks white but he is in fact half Mexican, how do you not know that the perp wasn’t half Hispanic or that she wasn’t half white? I think he should be put in jail and was a complete degenerate but lets keep things in context and not just start shouting things that aren’t provable. Texas also is almost half Hispanic so I’m guessing there were a number of Hispanics in that jury box and who knows what race the defense was? I also don’t think he shot her because she was Hispanic but because of gender and by the fact that he’s a general degenerate.

          • colleen2

            Well, have you personally seen a picture of her to know she was “brown”

            Of course I did. You can too. Google her name and then click on the images tag. I don’t believe he shot her because she was Hispanic or because she was a woman or because she was poor. I think he (and the judge and jury) believed her life was less valuable for those reasons.

      • http://crissa.twu.net/ Crissa

        That would make one wonder, then, why they ever get any murder one convictions – even while the state seems rife with them.

        • RethinkThePink

          Please. This was in no way premeditated murder.

          • colleen2

            bullshit.

          • ljean8080

            I agree,this was not planned .when she decided not to have sex,why did she not give the money back?

          • http://crissa.twu.net/ Crissa

            Yeah, I mean, what did he expect inviting a woman out to a rural location and then firing thirty times at her car?

  • RethinkThePink

    Agree that the failure to proffer a lesser-included is what did this prosecutor in.

  • RG

    It is reprehensible that the trial judge did not instruct on the LIO of manslaughter. If a grand jury found evidence to indict on murder, the judge could have found evidence to instruct on manslaughter. Bottom line: Justice system should serve justice. Taking someone’s life because she drove away with $150 without having sex with the guy means you should at least be punished a little. Without even a chance to convict on manslaughter, I don’t think there was an opportunity for justice.

    • RepubAnon

      It’s also reprehensible that the judge allowed the defense to present such a prejudicial defense when there were insufficient facts to allow it. There was no night-time burglary – it was, at most, breach of contract… an illegal contract.

      Given the facts as stated by the defense, a prostitute was invited into the shooter’s home, paid to perform sex, refused to do so, and then left. Where’s the breaking and entering element of burglary? The judge should have barred the defense from presenting the defense to the jury as part of the pre-trial motions, and having them do so at trial should have been grounds for a mistrial.

      Alternatively, one could characterize this as a frustrated rapist shooting at an escaping victim’s car. Murder One would seem appropriate.

      Let’s be charitable, and assume that the prosecutor simply thought that the defense was so outrageous and the facts so clear that it was better to allow the defense to present the arguments rather than risk having a conviction overturned on appeal. A stupid decision that allowed someone to legally run out of his house and start shooting at someone for $150.

      What happens if a tenant that owes back rent tries to move out of the unit without paying? Can the landlord shoot at them in Texas?

      • Sensei Devi

        You got it wrong. She was an escort not prostitute and was not paid to perform sex but provide companionship, he presumed it meant sex in spite of having no foundation for his presumptions. So technically he’s the thief since he wanted to take back money for the service she provided and was specified in the ad. He tried to rob her of her money and robbed her of her life all over $150.

  • colleen2

    The judge and prosecution in this case were outrageously ineffective which is odd because Texas is really good at trying and convicting folks for murder. Of course those convicted are mostly people of color and most of them are innocent but it’s not as if the Texas ‘justice’ system is short on murder convictions. Perhaps the jury should have been allowed to consider a verdict of murder 2 or (absurdly) manslaughter.

    I’m not giving anyone, least of all the judge and prosecution, the benefit of the doubt and believe this is an obvious and blatant miscarriage of justice.
    The man was trying to force this woman to have some form of sex with him and using a gun to achieve that goal. Why wasn’t he charged?

  • DanielKely

    This still sounds like a strange reaction. I’ve seen trials in my home state ( CA ) where the jury was presented with the option to convict for 1st degree murder, 2nd degree, or manslaughter. Also even being tangentially connected to a crime that results in someone’s death is often enough around here to get a long prison sentence. I’ve never heard of anyone successfully using the argument “I was only shooting at their tires”. I guess Texas really is different!

  • http://www.facebook.com/j.alex.harman John Alexander Harman

    Whether or not the jury acquitted Gilbert based on the defense of property law,the fact remains that his defense attorneys argued in open court that a woman accepting money from a man who believes he is paying for sex, then leaving without having sex with him, meets the definition of “a night-time robbery” under that law. Furthermore, the judge apparently failed in her duty to instruct the jury that that was incorrect, thus creating the appearance, in the minds of the jurors and anyone else (such as other defense attorneys and other murderers) reading about the case, that this defense was a legitimate application of the defense of property law.

  • DanielKely

    Actually the more I think about this, the more I think people aren’t outraged enough! ‘shooting out someone’s tires’ with your gun with pinpoint accuracy only happens in the movies or in the occasional television crime drama. Just pulling your gun on someone is often enough to receive prison time.

    • Drew Miller

      I’m outraged to the point of feeling physically sick. Does that help?

      • evodevo

        Good. If you live in Tehas, start raising hell and don’t shut up until they do something about that law. In the meantime, take an antacid.

    • Michael Hartwell

      Agreed. He violated all sorts of firearm rules. Unsafe direction, no direct physical threat, etc. He killed either because he was a fuckup or because he got rolled. What does anyone think he was going to do with that AK if he got the tire?

  • Si Boru

    Just one highlights on your last sentence in this paragraph, the only “killer’ that have rights are those who kill to defend their own life or the life of their loved ones. Other than that.. I DO NOT THINK KILLER SHOULD HAVE RIGHTS. When you take other people’s life for any other reason than I stated above, you forfeit your rights as a human being. That should be the end of the story. Stop tolerating stupidity, greed, and ignorance. They argue that it was accident? Unless the shooter had a proven record that he is a sharp shooter, what the f@#k did he think is going to happened?

    • joe smith

      Great idea. nobody charged with a crime should be given due process. I heard saudi arabia is lovely this time of year.

      • RethinkThePink

        Sigh .. it’s so depressing having to explain JUSTICE to Americans, isn’t it, Joe?

    • Sensei Devi

      Exactly with an AK-47 no less?

  • Jane Divergigielis

    Why is this the ONE single source that does not say he shot her? Are you sure?

    • Sensei Devi

      Technically he shot his AK-47 and a fragment lodged in her spinal cord. She didn’t become injured due to a gun shot but a fragment from his gun.

  • ljean8080

    This was man-slaughter,not murder 1.

  • http://crissa.twu.net/ Crissa

    When you shoot at a vehicle, you are knowingly causing the chance said person will die.

    There is no two ways around that. He is said to have fired thirty times.

    So, no.

    • Drew Miller

      The problem is the charge. Prosecution asked for murder. It wasn’t murder, “merely” manslaughter. Still unbelievably atrocious.

      • http://crissa.twu.net/ Crissa

        You shoot at someone in the commission of a crime, that’s murder.

        • Drew Miller

          What crime was he committing at the time of the shots? He was trying to get his money back. Which, in this case under this inexcusable Texas law, was legal.

          • Daniel Dvorkin

            Soliciting prostitution is a crime in most places.

          • canaduck

            Yeah, except (shocker!) they arrest the prostituted woman the great majority of the time, not the john.

          • Austin Mabry

            Prostitution is also illegal.

          • Adam

            The legal rule that you’re thinking of is called the FELONY-murder rule. Under that rule, a person can be found guilty of murder, even if unintentional, if they kill someone in the course of the commission of a felony. Solicitation is not a felony.

          • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com/ Michael

            Assault with a deadly weapon is, though the property defense law came in there.

          • Letters

            Wrong. Assault with a deadly weapon can’t be the underlying felony because it merges with the murder charge.

          • Adam

            Bingo! The merger doctrine prevents applying the felony-murder rule where the underlying felony is the same act as the killing. Knowing the law makes a big difference in these sorts of discussions.

          • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com/ Michael

            Oh yeah, you’re right.

          • William Carr

            Assault is a crime in and of itself.

            I didn’t go to Law School, but I’ve never heard of two charges “merging”.

            For example, someone robs a bank, while being illegally parked in front of the bank.

            They don’t dismiss the lesser charge because the two “merge”.

          • colleen2

            Let’s see, he fired a loaded weapon at a car full of people because a woman refused to have sex with him. In doing so he killed the woman who refused to have sex with him. You’re welcome to argue that there is no felony to be found in that congealed fuck bucket but you would be wrong.

          • Austin Mabry

            Name the statute.

          • colleen2

            What crime was he committing at the time of the shots?

            He had assumed that sex was included in the deal and it clearly was not. He was shooting at a woman because she would not have sex with him. She had not agreed to have sex with him. Having sex with him was not part of the deal and she did not want to have sex with him. Further, sex for money is prostitution and that is illegal.

            Were they scamming him? Sure. But you’re arguing that he had a right to demand sex from this woman and he most certainly did not. Nor did he have a legal right to pay for sex. Nor did he have a legal right to fire a gun at a car with people in it.

          • Sensei Devi

            They weren’t even scamming him. Scamming is when you lie, they didn’t.

          • colleen2

            I wasn’t using ‘Scamming’ to imply illegality. I can easily see how he may have concluded that the companionship offered in the ad was of a sexual nature. I believe the ad was deliberately misleading in much the same way political and used car ads are.

          • Austin Mabry

            But he DID have a legal right to get his money back…

          • William Carr

            The crime was Assault with a Deadly Weapon, there’s no other crime needed to qualify.

          • Austin Mabry

            And if the DA had properly charged the case, the shooter would almost certainly be in prison.

    • mystixa

      when you drive your car out on the road you are ‘knowingly causing the chance’ that someone will die. The numbers may change slightly but there are still odds.

  • pixiedust8

    And what was he planning to do after he shot out the tire? Was he trying to make her lose control and injure herself? Or was he then going to beat or shoot her? There are many things wrong with this case and this guy should never have walked away.

    • Sensei Devi

      Exactly! What kind of nut uses an AK-47 and not something with better aim? Did they find bullet holes all over the car or only near the tires to even corroborate his claim that he was only shooting at the tires? Like most gun zealots he probably knew about the right to use a gun when being robbed and he took it out of context in a fit of anger and applied it to suit his erroneous sense of injustice. He consensually gave her the money for a service she performed which was to give him companionship-which did not mean sex like he erroneously presumed. He shot her for something she didn’t even say she’d perform. I mean, when did it become evident that she wasn’t going to provide sex during the entire time she was there? Did he try to resolve it more peacefully by wrestling back the money or did he even tell her he was unsatisfied? Well never know because she isn’t here to tell us.

  • CA_DixieMay

    I’m sorry but opinion piece is as much speculation as anyone who sees it as TX being ok with Prostitutes being expendable and fair game for shooting. Has the Author spoke with a Juror and learned what they based their decision on? No? Then speculate away along with the rest of us.

    The fact is, imo, they let him get away with murder. You don’t, ever, (gun safety 101!!!!) point a loaded gun at anything you don’t intend to kill! NEVER….and when you do, if it’s not self defense, it’s murder. And imo this TX Jury decided murdering a Prostitute was legally acceptable.

    • Lmaris

      Well said. An attempt to whitewash an egregious miscarriage of justice.

    • Sensei Devi

      Escort not prostitute. The defense even mentioned that he “thought” sex would be involved even though that was not specified. I mean when during the 30 minutes that she’s there do you not understand or investigate to see if you’re actually going to be receiving sex? The ad didn’t state she’d have sex just provide companionship and you have escort agencies where it’s known they only provide escorts who don’t perform sexual acts.

  • Drew Miller

    This is a good analysis. But the law itself is still an atrocity.

    Justice
    would be a) tearing up
    large chunks of Texas’ law base, and b) making Texas legislators pay
    restitution to anyone similarly affected by this atrocity of a law.

  • Lmaris

    Since the author of this article has no more knowledge of why the jury reached the verdict it did, it is reasonable that the articles she decries were accurate. Sure, she’d like to believe the jury came to a conclusion that fits her scenerio, but there is no evidence to back that up. Not that here in Texas evidence is required.

    • Adam

      The jury has to deliver a “not guilty” verdict if the prosecution does not prove each and every element “beyond a reasonable doubt”. One of the elements is that he “knowingly or intentionally” killed her. Is it likely that he intended to shoot her? Sure. Is it a reasonable possibility that he meant to shoot out the tires? Maybe. And that is reasonable doubt and sufficient to find a person not guilty in pretty much any American criminal trial.

      The American justice system is not designed to convict the guilty as much as it is to protect the innocent. This guy probably got away with murder, but in America, we chose to let that guy go free so we can make sure that we keep innocents out of jail. If that is the principle you do not like, then the the American justice system is never going to satisfy your sense of justice. You’ll be much happier in Japan where they have a 98% conviction rate, and I am going to guess not all of them are guilty.

      • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com/ Michael

        Yes, and in Japan they manage that by not investigating or prosecuting cases that don’t have “slam dunk” written all over them (there’s no plea bargains; all cases are tried). Lots of guilty people go free still, they just don’t even see the inside of a courtroom.

      • SundownLF

        As for keeping “innocents out of jail,” you might want to tell that to the thousands of people – primarily young men of color – who are spending their lifetimes in jail for having tiny amounts of marijuana in their possession. Obviously a much worse crime than shooting at a moving vehicle with an AK-47, with or without the intent to kill.

        • colleen2

          By ‘innocents’ he means white guys with enough money to afford a good defense.

  • Mark S

    Bullshit. He needs to be indicted on Federal charges. You don’t shoot at a car with a goddamn AK-47 and expect not to kill someone. The jury remains a gang of morons, the case remains a travesty, and Gilbert needs to be on death row.

    • Letters

      That would be “double jeopardy” and thus unconstitutional. The government cannot try you twice for the same crime.

  • Willard D Russell

    So that guy expected to pay for sex. Where is the religious right condemning him to Hell?

    • Bubbubsky

      Shhh. Double standards don’t apply to hypocrites.

    • andres herrera

      They’re too busy defending him for shooting a “thieving whore”.

      • Bridgette Dunlap

        The quotes don’t make that language okay. That is another problem with how this story has been told – sarcasm for page views is actually perpetuating the idea you can hurt certain people and get away with it.

        • colleen2

          The fact is that she was murdered because she refused to be a prostitute. The fact is that the fat white guy was acquitted because the jury believed she was a prostitute. It’s not everyone’s job to defend prostitution but I think we all have a vested self interest in seeing that women aren’t murdered for refusing to perform sex acts and that is precisely what happened in this case.

          Further we ALL understand that “thieving whore” was the attitude of the genuinely fucked jury in this case and not the writer.

    • Sensei Devi

      The douche actually thanked God when he was let off and whined that now when he watches tv and they involve gun shots and he just has to turn it off-what bullshit!

  • andres herrera

    Ok so if I throw a brick in your direction, and it hits and kills you, that’s ok because i didn’t really mean to hurt you?

    • Brendan O’Brien

      No you have no reading comprehension. Do not attempt law school.

      • colleen2

        So, did you obtain your law degree from Liberty University?

  • andres herrera

    Ok so if I throw a brick in your direction, and it hits and kills you, that’s ok because i didn’t really mean to hurt you?

    • Bridgette Dunlap

      It would not be OK, but it might be a different crime than hitting me with a brick on purpose.

      • andres herrera

        Then so is shooting a gun at someone.

        • Bridgette Dunlap

          That would be the point of the article. It appears it was a mistake not to charge manslaughter as a lesser included offense.

  • John

    Let us put Gilbert in the Karma “payback is a bitch” machine!

    • Sensei Devi

      He stole a life and he tried to rob her of her money he consensually gave up for service she performed (i.e. she said she’d provide companionship-not sex and did) which makes him the robber and so he should be shot too according to the interpretation of this law. He wanted his money back because he’s never heard the warming caveat emptor and because he didn’t pay attention to what the ad said. Some escort services only provide companionship-not sex and the degenerate thought otherwise in spite of having no foundation for his presumptions.

  • Neil Low

    Very thoughtful analyses, Bridget! Thank you for taking the time to set the record straight. Not having all the facts, I was outraged to read the first reports, based on less than a clear understanding of the facts and case law. I still want to blame someone for this atrocity, but that leaves only the judge for not instructing the jury on the lesser included manslaughter. Damn shame!

  • http://asystemofrandomtangents.wordpress.com/ Anna Helen Johnstone

    What exactly did he expect shooting her tyres while she was driving would achieve? Why was he not charged correctly? Since when did they have to choose one? Due to some idiot cutting corners, he got off scot free. As the writer said, he was only charged with murder, therefore they could not find him guilty of the other offences.

  • Rdzkz

    This sets the precedent of legal law that prostitution is legal: the contract was not fulfilled and the customer retaliated.

    • Letters

      No, it does not set that “legal law” precedent.

  • Smootchie

    This was criminal or negligent manslaughter.. plain and simple. The Judge was either a complete moron… or thought is was ok to kill a hooker.

  • kerwynkus

    Dunlap makes some valid legal points. BUT, does anyone think that he would have gotten off scott free if (a) he was black, or (b) his victim was not an escort? There are the legal aspects of the case, which make it seem like a manslaughter charge was warranted *together with* the murder charge – then at least he would have been convicted of something. But there is also the social side of “the law” – laws are not applied equally, and the fact that she was working as an escort was indeed very relevant here. No, Texas law may not explicitly say that you can shoot to kill an escort who refuses sex, but as a de facto principle, that seems to be where things stand. I appreciate Dunlap’s attempt to say “Hey, it’s not legal to kill escorts!” but as a matter of fact (not de jure, but de facto) it seems to be. To me, the above article – while adding some needed nuance and legal understanding – ultimately works to make it seem like things aren’t as bad as they actually are.

    One question I still have (not being a lawyer): How can it be that a person who is acquitted for first degree murder (due to a failure to prove intent) receives no penalty whatsoever? Can the prosecutor now charge Gilbert with manslaughter? Or is that now impossible?

  • Beatrix S.L

    Hopefully her family can take him to civil court and find him guilty there. Al least ruin him financially.

  • Commentista

    This entire hand-wring article is unbelievably boring and pedantic. Imagine, a “legal analyst” (aka lawyer) – a profession that prides itself on character assassination and lying for money – scolding journalists because they didn’t wallow in the same obscure legal minutae that law-liars grow fat on. The judge, the jury, and the legal defense team, deserve all the denigration that can be heaped upon them.

  • William Carr

    You entire premise is that he “didn’t intend to shoot her”.

    And yet he pointed a gun at the vehicle she was riding in, and opened fire.

    There is the reasonable presumption that firing a weapon at someone will kill them.

    If I did the same, firing at a Police Car, they would charge me with Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Attempted Murder.

    And if I’d hit a Police Officer, I would be found guilty of Murder.

    No-one in their right mind would believe that shooting at a vehicle is not Assault with a Deadly Weapon.

    This is a simple case of the Jury nullifying the Law, letting a Murderer escape justice.

  • dollym100

    When are women going to start using their second amendment rights to protect themselves.from scum like this. If he had killed a child of mine and walked out of court a free man ,I do not think I could accept this and do nothing,

    I would do everything legally possible to make his life a living hell.

    • Bridgette Dunlap

      More violence is definitely not the answer. A civil lawsuit might be.

  • TigerEyes72

    The woman advertised herself as a hooker on CraigsList. She took $150 from someone, didn’t supply the goods & tried to flee with the money. Of course he was angry. Not sure if he meant to shoot her or not but she brought that upon herself.

  • Florence Burns

    But if she did have sex with him, she’d be guilty of prostitution. Escorts are NOT prostitutes and they do NOT have to provide sex if they do not want to so… basically, this piece of shit is just an entitled overgrown brat. I hope he gets treated the same way if he goes to prison on some other charge.

  • BRUCERUBIN

    THESE ARE TRAINED PROFESSIONALS, THEY LET HIM OFF SO IT IS EXACTLY AS IT IS

  • Mikado Cat

    Thanks for looking into, so many these days cut and paste a headline and think its the gospel truth.

    Still leaves me with some desire to know more about why the lesser manslaughter charge was not included, and/or if it applied as much as it seems to.

    I would also, just for nitpicking sake like to read the actual Craigslist ad.