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Gilbert v. State

Florida District Court of Appeal
487 So. 2d 1185 (1986)



Roswell Gilbert (defendant), aged 75, and his wife, Emily Gilbert, lived together in a Florida condominium and had been married for 51 years. Emily suffered from severe osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s Disease, and was in constant pain. At trial, witnesses testified that Emily’s condition deteriorated over the years, and they had seen her crying and looking very ill. In one instance, a witness had overheard Emily tell her husband that she was so sick that she wanted to die. Roswell testified that Emily lost her memory over time and become increasingly dependent upon him. On March 3, Roswell took Emily to the hospital, but she became upset and said she wanted to go home. Roswell took her home. The next day, the couple went out to lunch as they usually did, after which Roswell put Emily on the couch and administered her pain medication. Still in pain, Emily said, “Please, somebody help me.” At trial, Roswell explained that he knew he had to be the one to help his wife and that he did so by shooting her in the head with a gun twice. Roswell said that he wanted to end her suffering and did not care about the consequences for himself. The jury found Roswell guilty of premeditated first-degree murder, and he was sentenced to life in prison. Pursuant to § 775.082 of the Florida Statutes, the mandatory minimum sentence for first-degree murder was 25 years. As a result, Roswell would be ineligible for parole until at least age 100. Roswell appealed his sentence.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Walden, J.)

Concurrence (Glickstein, J.)

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