The trial of an Ivy Leaguer accused of gunning down his hedge-fund dad for cutting his allowance turned into a real family circus Wednesday as his mom was questioned by his lawyer.
With defendant Thomas Gilbert Jr. repeatedly shouting out “objection” as his mother was cross-examined, his own lawyer asked the judge to halt the murder trial and order a new mental-health evaluation, arguing that his client was actively undermining his own defense.
“I move for a competency exam,” said attorney Arnold Levine, out of the earshot of Manhattan Supreme Court jurors hearing the case of the scion who allegedly shot dead his millionaire dad in 2015 over a $100-cut in his weekly allowance.
Justice Melissa Jackson shot down the request, which came after Gilbert objected to Levine’s cross-examination of Shelley Gilbert, who is the prosecution’s reluctant star witness.
Thomas Gilbert, 34, became especially animated when his mother described an annual day camp he attended with his father in Connecticut.
“They went to sporting events and hung out and had a good time,” recalled Shelley Gilbert.
“Objection! Belligerent!” blurted a disheveled Gilbert, who wore a scruffy beard and a mop of untidy hair, as he rocked softly in his seat.
The judge took a break to address the outbursts and chastised Gilbert, threatening to boot him from the courtroom if he didn’t stop.
At one point, Gilbert rattled off incomprehensible legalese and demanded a new attorney, which the judge denied.
The scolding appeared to do the trick. When the trial resumed, the frail and gaunt defendant stopped interrupting.
On her second day on the stand, the wearied mother described her son’s mental deterioration beginning at the end of his senior year at tony Deerfield Academy and deepening while at Princeton University.
While at the Massachusetts prep school, he developed a fear that his roommate had become contaminated. She said that in her son’s world, contaminated things and people became “almost radioactive.”
Eventually, his parents also became sullied, and he once refused to visit with his mother unless she bought new clothes, she said.
Over time, he grew increasingly withdrawn and isolated until he was “out of touch with everyone in the world,” she recalled.
“It was very hard because we were very close historically,” recalled the shattered mom in a pained voice. “We were a very happy family,” she said, adding that when her son was 10 he gave his father a “Best Dad in the World” statue.
Shelley Gilbert has repeatedly insisted that her son is mentally ill and belongs in a hospital, not prison.
The once-strapping athlete has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder and a host of other psychiatric ailments.
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