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76-Year-Old Wife Who Police Say Killed Terminally-Ill Husband At His Request Faces Reduced Charges

Daytona Beach, FL – The charges against a 76-year-old woman who fatally shot her terminally-ill husband in the head inside a Daytona Beach hospital room have been reduced from first-degree murder to assisting self-murder/manslaughter.

Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young said 76-year-old Ellen Gilland and her husband of 53 years, 77-year-old Jerry Gilland, had agreed that if his terminal illness took a turn for the worse, “he wanted her to end this,” WSAZ reported.

The couple had been planning the shooting for several weeks, according to Chief Young.

“Apparently the goal was for him to do it, but he didn’t have the strength, so she had to carry it out,” he told WSAZ.

Chief Young said the Gillands’ plan was to carry out “a murder-suicide in which she would kill herself,” but Ellen Gilland ultimately decided she could not turn the gun on herself.

“It’s a tough situation,” Chief Young said of the case, according to CNN.

The shooting occurred inside Jerry Gilland’s AdventHealth Daytona Beach Hospital room on Jan. 21, WFTV reported.

After fatally shooting her husband in the head, Ellen Gilland allegedly pointed the gun at a nurse and a hospital security officer who ran into the room, then told them to leave, according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal.

A SWAT team responded to the scene and tried to talk to the suspect, who then took up a “defensive position” behind her husband’s bed, WFTV reported.

Daytona Beach Police Detective Collin Howell testified about the four-hour standoff during Ellen Gilland’s bond hearing earlier in February, The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.

“She grabbed the firearm. She raised it at officers. As she was raising it, she discharged the firearm at officers entering the room,” Det. Howell said.

Investigators said a bullet from the .38-caliber revolver hit the ceiling tiles, according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal.

She then dropped the gun and was taken into custody, WFTV reported.

The retired schoolteacher has no prior criminal record, according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Ellen Gilland was originally charged with premeditated first-degree murder and two counts of aggressive assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill in connection with the shooting, according to WSAZ.

She would have faced a mandatory life sentence if convicted on the first-degree murder charge.

A grand jury reduced the charges on Feb. 22 to assisting self-murder/manslaughter, aggravated assault, and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, WSAZ reported.

She faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Ellen Gilland’s pretrial hearing is scheduled for March 28, The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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