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Can of Coke led to conviction of ‘Ivy League Killer’ in murder of millionaire father

Jurors on Friday convicted “Ivy League Killer” Thomas Gilbert, Jr. of murdering his father over cuts to his weekly allowance, a result that all hinged on a can of Coke, the New York Post reports.

The conviction came after deliberations spanned for more than two days.

Jurors were not persuaded by an insanity defense that Gilbert mounted and instead convicted him of second-degree murder and charges related to possessing a weapon.

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The case stems from January 4, 2015, when Gilbert went to his parents’ luxury Manhattan home unannounced and asked him mom, Shelley Gilbert, to get him a sandwich and Coca-Cola.

Shelley Gilbert testified that her son knew she never kept Coke at home. That detail, jurors say, was key to securing a conviction.

“The can of Coke: it was really our ‘aha’ moment,” said Steven David Torres, juror no. 11.

After Shelley Gilbert left the residence, Thomas Gilbert Jr. fatally shot his 70-year-old father with a .40 caliber Glock and then fled while the senior Gilbert, a millionaire investor, collapsed on his bedroom floor, according to the Post.

Prosecutors argued that while the 34-year-old Gilbert may have been suffering from mental illness, he knew precisely what he was doing when he pulled the trigger.

Jurors were initially split on Gilbert’s guilt and innocence, according to Torres, who said the deliberation room was filled with strong opinions.

“There was a lot of emotion, one side just yelling, ‘He’s guilty! He’s guilty!’ and the other side was like, ’He’s not, he’s sick,’” Torres said.

But then one of the jurors reminded everyone that Gilbert had asked his mother for the Coke so she would leave the house, which showed just how calculating he was.

“It was a lightbulb moment for me,” Julie Thiry-Couvillion, juror no. 8, said.

Authorities say Gilbert was infuriated that his parents had cut his weekly allowance from $1,000 to $300. Shelley Gilbert said the move was an effort to persuade her son that he needed more intensive psychiatric help.

Juror no. 10, Linda Corcelles-Alvarez, said she consistently believed Gilbert was guilty.

“It was all about money,” Corcelles-Alvarez said. “He just shot him in cold blood.”

While Torres said most on the panel believed Gilbert was severely mentally ill, they did not think he was when he pulled the trigger.

Gilbert, a Princeton grad, faces life in prison and will be sentenced in August.

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[Feature Photo: Thomas Gilbert Jr./Police Handout]