This is # 3 out of 10, “Last Call for Murder,” a case from 1986. I remember (unforgettably sad) Joe telling us at the time about having to tell the mother about the death of two of her daughters in the convenience store.
The father who speaks of his sorrow in this program says that his wife died not long after the deaths of their two daughters. He says she died of a broken heart.
Once again, this appears to be murder without motive. Did you see the figures? Gilbert scored a total of $233, or $46 for each of the five lives he took.
Gilbert was at one point a successful man–an Eagle Scout, success with a career as a plumber, a beautiful girl friend. But he took cocaine. Cocaine engenders paranoia and rage. He took on extra plumbing work, often with night calls, to get drug money, so he was exhausted, too. The girl friend left him. Feeling the need for more & more money, he had robbed that same Grandview Lounge the year before, also a few minutes before closing time. That time he was wearing a mask. And he got away with $1,500.
Being a wise business woman, the owner of the lounge Sonya, whom you see interviewed on the program, changed her policy. Before she went home every night after that first robbery, she deposited the day’s proceeds. She left behind only about $100 for the staff as they closed up.
When Gilbert got so little money, he ran to the convenience store near by to see what he could get there.
The two young women there had already locked the door at that time after someone had shouted warnings about the shots & fire at the lounge.
But the owner of the convenience store was not so wise a business man. He had removed the telephone from the premises. He didn’t want the employees wasting time calling their boy friends. And it was fine with him to leave a young, inexperienced woman alone there at night. Remember one sister was just there, unpaid, because the other sister felt unsafe & uncomfortable. So he saved a few pennies.
Think of Gilbert’s girl friend. She had left him because of the cocaine, but had returned to Denver to visit her mother. She visited Gilbert, too, & since she was used to his taking emergency plumbing jobs in the middle of the night, she wasn’t fazed when the call came in. She had no idea that the call was about murder.
Just as Gilbert shot himself, the Eagle Scout part of his personality appeared just in the last second of his life. He said, “I love you” to her.
At the very end of the program, catch a glimpse of Joe as a brown-haired, young man, smoking a cigarette as the body is removed.
Favorite line of the show: Joe says of the suicide, “You just saved the taxpayers a lot of money.” He tells me a trial costs upwards of a million dollars, & keeping someone in prison is at least $80K a year.
Strange coincidences about this program:
Strange: The man who installed the surveillance cameras had visited that day. The camera had gone off accidentally. He re-set it. And he asked the daytime staff to tell the night staff to be careful not to trigger it again. Apparently, that message got through. The camera worked & was critical to catching the murderer.
Even stranger: Kathy was working as a nurse at the local hospital. An orderly whom she hardly knew charged in & shouted, “Your husband just killed my brother!” Kathy was able to calm him down by saying that didn’t have to have anything to do with their working together. Gilbert’s brother agreed finally & walked away without harming her.
Strangest of all: A few hours after the show aired, in Denver, three men walked into a bar about ten minutes before closing time. They shot five people. They started a concealment fire just as Gilbert did. Police describe it as a “robbery gone bad.” The suspects been arrested, but again five people have lost their lives.