Jurors in the Princeton University graduate trial say a can of Coke was the “aha moment” that helped to find the man guilty.
Thomas Gilbert Jr., now 34, is facing a possible life sentence after the jury convicted him on Friday of killing his father after he cut his son’s weekly allowance of $1,000.
The jurors were split whether Gilbert could be found guilty, with one side suggesting he should be found not guilty by reason of mental defect, the New York Post reported.
“There was a lot of emotion, one side just yelling, ‘He’s guilty! He’s guilty!’ and the other side was like, ’He’s not, he’s sick,’” juror no. 11, Steven David Torres, told the paper.
But Gilbert’s request for his mother to go out and get him a can of Coke on the night of the murder in 2015 broke the impasse among the jurors.
“The can of Coke: it was really our ‘aha’ moment.”
“The can of Coke: it was really our ‘aha’ moment,” Torres said.
Shelley Gilbert, the mother, testified in court that the son knew that she never kept the drink in the house.
Another juror pointed out to others that Gilbert purposely asked for the beverage so that his mother would leave the house and he could shoot his hedge fund millionaire father.
“It was a lightbulb moment for me,” juror no. 8, Julie Thiry-Couvillion, told the Post.
"It was a lightbulb moment for me."
Prosecutors argued that Gilbert had been living a lavish lifestyle of golf, surfing and travel – all paid for by his parents.
“The defendant rejected hard work, instead, preferring an easy life handed to him on a silver platter,” Assistant District Attorney Craig Ortner said in his closing argument earlier this week, according to the newspaper.
Beginning in 2014, the father began reducing the weekly payments by hundreds of dollars at a time – in hopes of inspiring the son to become more self-reliant. After making another reduction Jan. 4, 2015, the son shot his father in the head in the father’s New York City apartment, prosecutors said.
After the killing, the son placed the gun in his dead father’s hand to make it seem like a suicide, prosecutors said.
The son fled the apartment, but his mother was home and called police just minutes after the shooting. The son was arrested later that same night, prosecutors said.
A jury convicted Gilbert Jr. on second-degree murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 9, authorities said.
Fox News’ Dom Calicchio contributed to this report.