VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — Ellen Gilland, 76, is facing the possibility of life behind bars after she was accused of shooting and killing her terminally ill husband, Jerry, inside AdventHealth Daytona Beach last month.
Last week a judge ruled that Gilland is a danger to the public and could not be released on bond. But her niece said she’s just someone who would have done anything for her partner of 53 years.
Investigators said the couple made a pact for Gilland to kill her husband if his illness became too grave.
“If one of them, either one had come home and said, ‘I’m going to make a zoo in the backyard,’ the other one would have said, ‘let me start building the fences.’ You know, that’s, that’s just how they were,” her niece Beatriz Timme said.
Timme said leading up to the shooting, her uncle Jerry had been in and out of the hospital for months. This last stretch was 21 days, and she believes her uncle must have been suffering terribly.
“And had there been a law in our state, a Death with Dignity law, I truly feel in my heart the situation would not be what it is today, my aunt wouldn’t be in jail, my uncle might be gone, but maybe he would be gone in a more peaceful way,” Timme said.
Timme said despite what has happened, her aunt is not a bad person. She was a longtime teacher and artist. Her uncle Jerry loved woodworking. She believes her aunt is reeling after watching her uncle suffer.
“She’s just been through a huge ordeal,” Timme said. “Well, she’s lost the love of her life.”
But investigators say her actions put the lives of innocent people at risk. They said Gilland turned and pointed the gun at hospital staff and deputies, and a judge agreed that she should remain in custody.
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