Faces Behind the Cases: Jane Gill
Parrot May Have the Answer to a Killing
New York Times, Nov. 12, 1993, p. B-20, Col.3 (The article is available here.)
Although not technically a case, this New York Times article is republished in Evidence: Cases and Materials, 11th ed., by Waltz, Park and Friedman (p. 217) so, I think it counts, and because I am currently the only contributor, let’s get started.
Sometimes my greatest joy comes from finding out what happened to the people mentioned in court cases. Suits tend to be the best soap operas, and sometimes, if your lucky, the authors will give you the juicy details surrounding the events, or footnotes containing the “Where are they now?” information. Other times as in this particular selection, we are left with nothing beyond the original piece. New York Times’ articles are limited in their coverage due to printing constraints, but we research buffs are limited only by the amount of time we are willing to waste. If you, like me, have some time to waste then let’s go.
The Face behind the Case today is Ms. Jane Gill. What we know from the article is that Ms. Gill was found smothered to death in her bedroom at the age of 36 in November of 1991. Ms. Gill had a pet African gray parrot named Max who, was rescued by a local pet shop who discovered Max kept repeating “Richard, no, no, no.” This is only remotely interesting because the man who was charged with the murder of Ms. Gill, her business partner, is not named Richard.
Gary Joseph Rasp was charged with the murder of Ms. Gill. Mr. Rasp professes that he is innocent, and his attorney, Charles Ogulnik, tries to bring up Max the parrot during a line of questioning at trial. The trial judge shuts down Mr. Ogulnik’s attempt at “poisoning” the jury by mentioning Max the parrot, and the article leaves us with no indication as to what has happened to either Mr. Rasp, or Max the parrot.
A quick google search tells us a little more. Mr. Rasp was eventually convicted of murdering his business partner, Ms. Gill. The second article sheds a new light on the case for the reader. At the time of her death, Ms. Gill had three life insurance policies totaling 2 million dollars. The beneficiary named in all three insurance policies was Gary Rasp. Sounds a little more guilty now doesn’t he?
The second article tells us Mr. Rasp was sentenced to life, and his son, Randall Rasp, is to receive $500,000 in insurance from the policies. Mrs. Rasp, who we haven’t heard anything about until now testified that the Rasp family paid the life insurance premiums for Ms. Gill. This should strike you as a little strange, Mrs. Rasp, paying the life insurance premiums of Mr. Rasp’s business partner, the single 46 year old variety. Strangled in the mansion of her bedroom. Mansion…why would someone who had a mansion need someone else to pay for their insurance premiums?
A picture of Ms. Gill might clear things up. A picture showing a woman, confined to her bed, tied down with her feeding tubes, and low brain activity could mean the Rasps were taking care of Ms. Gill out of the kindness of their hearts. On the other hand, a picture showing a hot, parrot owning sexual freak could mean this was the love/murder plot straight out of a daytime movie special.
What I found only raises more questions. Witness my fellow buffs, as this article so helpfully points out, is Ms. Jane Gill, real estate broker, parrot owner, and still breathing. When one begins research they can never predict where it will take them. How many real estate professionals named Jane Gill own parrots? My uneducated eye tells me this parrot, is not an African Grey, but perhaps this was all part of Ms. Gill’s sinister plot to collect on her own life insurance, imprison the only one who could foil her plot, Mr. Rasp, and run away with her young lover, Randall.* You be the judge.
*Fear of liability makes me remind our readers that this is not the same Jane Gill. Thank you.