Kill or be killed? Ex-teacher Virginia Vertetis shoots, kills ex-NYPD officer Patrick Gilhuley

Produced by Sarah Prior, Lourdes Aguiar and Alicia Tejada

[This story originally aired on Oct. 7, 2017]  

Patrick Gilhuley, a retired NYPD officer and former movie star bodyguard, positioned a collection of frantic calls to his daughter Jennifer Gilhuley on March 3, 2014. He was on the Mount Olive, N.J. dwelling of his on-again, off-again girlfriend, schoolteacher Virginia Vertetis. Inside minutes of these calls, Patrick was useless.

“I heard three loud pictures and I heard him say, ‘Holy [expletive] she’s capturing….’ And the telephone name went useless,” Jennifer Gilhuley tearfully informed a jury.

When police arrived, Patrick’s physique was simply inside Virginia’s entrance door. She informed them she used a gun that Patrick had left underneath her mattress. What acquired them to that second is on the middle of this case.

Virginia’s protection legal professional Ed Bilinkas says the capturing was in self-defense. “He choked her,” Bilinkas tells “48 Hours” correspondent Erin Moriarty. “He regarded her straight within the eyes and mentioned he was going to kill her.”

Prosecutor Matt Troiano tells jurors, “This defendant tried to orchestrate a narrative to make herself appear like a sufferer … She calls 911. And she or he lies.”

What actually occurred that night time? Moriarty and “48 Hours” examine Patrick Gilhuley’s demise and the homicide case towards Virginia Vertetis and deconstruct crucial forensic proof that may be a key to the prosecution’s principle of what occurred. Will a bullet settle who’s telling the reality?


Protection legal professional Ed Bilinkas: I am like leaping out of my pores and skin … somebody’s life is in my fingers… It is a large weight on my shoulder.”

Protection attorneys Ed Bilinkas and Sara McArdle are on edge as Virginia Vertetis’ homicide trial begins.

Ed Bilinkas: I am unable to sleep anymore. I am actually bouncing off the partitions. … If I lose, she’ll spend the remainder of her life in jail.

 It was three years after Patrick Gilhuley was shot to demise in Virginia’s dwelling in Mount Olive, New Jersey.

Ed Bilinkas [in court]: My shopper just isn’t responsible. She killed Patrick Gilhuley in self-defense.

But it surely will not be straightforward for Bilinkas to show that.

Ed Bilinkas: It is a troublesome case. …There’s loads of issues that we have to handle. 

Beginning with Virginia’s 911 name:

DISPATCHER: 911, the place  is your emergency?

VIRGINIA VERTETIS: Anyone was breaking into my home!

One of many greatest challenges for the protection is what Virginia mentioned on that decision.

Ed Bilinkas: She makes up a narrative. She lies.

VIRGINIA VERTETIS to 911: I did not know who was coming into my home. I used to be in mattress! Go take a look at my mattress!

Nobody was breaking into her home on the night time of March 3, 2014.

Ed Bilinkas: Large drawback for her

Virginia was with Patrick Gilhuley, her on-again, off-again boyfriend of greater than 5 years.

Ed Bilinkas: There is a official cause why she did what she did.

There is just one one who can clarify it:

Protection legal professional Sara McArdle [in court]: How are you doing as we speak?

Virginia Vertetis: OK. Simply very nervous.

…nevertheless it’s an enormous gamble.

Sara McArdle: It is all the time a danger to place a defendant on the stand.

It is even riskier as a result of Virginia, severely depressed and anxious, is now closely medicated.

Sara McArdle: However when you did not put her on, the jury would by no means know what occurred that night time.

Sara McArdle [in court]: Do you continue to love Patrick Gilhuley?

Prosecutor Matt Troiano: Objection, Choose.

Choose: I will enable it.

Virginia Vertetis: Sure [cries].

Their story started in 2008.

Sara McArdle [in court]: How did you meet him?

Virginia Vertetis: I met him on-line,

Patrick Gilhuley was divorced and the daddy of two daughters. He was, says Prosecutor Matt Troiano, a sophisticated man. 

Prosecutor Matt Troiano [in court]: Patrick Gilhuley was not good, women and gents, under no circumstances. He drank an excessive amount of and too typically. …However … he had an enormous coronary heart. He labored onerous. He was beloved by his household and associates and he beloved them.

Patrick Gilhuley with Angelina Jolie
Patrick Gilhuley, seen working as a personal safety guard with actress Angelina Jolie

Brett Kaffee/Pacific Coast Information

Patrick was working in non-public safety, together with a stint as a bodyguard for Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt after he had retired as a cop.

Virginia Vertetis [in court]: it was relationship. …He was very attentive.

Virginia Vertetis
Virginia Vertetis

Protection group

When Virginia met Patrick she had been unfortunate at love — she’d married thrice seeking it. The primary time she had married younger and it did not final. She’d fallen onerous for husband quantity two, Scott Vertetis, additionally a police officer.

Crainie Koellhoffer(with Erin Moriarty, photographs): Oh, she beloved him very, very a lot.

Virginia’s mom, Crainie Koellhoffer, says when the couple’s kids — Kellie and Billy — had been younger, Virginia left a high-paying job at AT&T to turn out to be a trainer so she might spend extra time with them. 

Erin Moriarty: I imply, Virginia would do absolutely anything for her kids, would not she?

Crainie Koellhoffer: Completely. …She was a wonderful mom.

However she says that marriage collapsed when Scott Vertetis cheated on Virginia.

Crainie Koellhoffer: That tore her world aside, simply tore her world aside. She was by no means the identical after that.

Jim Faulkner: She had a historical past of abandonment from males.

Jim Faulkner was Virginia’s third husband.

Jim Faulkner: I met her on

That was in 2004, 4 years earlier than Patrick Gilhuley.

Jim Faulkner: She had her Grasp’s diploma; engaged on her doctorate. So she was very sensible, and she or he knew what she wished … She wished this good life, this white picket fence and the glad household.

Virginia Vertetis and Jim Faulkner
Virginia Vertetis with Jim Faulkner, her third husband

Jim Faulkner

However Faulkner says the connection was unstable, and at any time when he tried to depart Virginia begged him to come back again.

Jim Faulkner: …she despatched me 100 roses. …She did every part in her energy to get me again. …She mentioned she’ll do no matter it takes and we even went to remedy.

Erin Moriarty: Do you get the impression that it’s extremely troublesome for Virginia to be with out a man?

Jim Faulkner: Sure. …She has to have anyone always.

The wedding to Faulkner did not final both. And shortly Virginia was again on

Jim Faulkner: I noticed an e mail that she was relationship anyone.

Erin Moriarty: Patrick Gilhuley.

Jim Faulkner: Yeah.

And that relationship was additionally unstable.

Virginia Vertetis [in court]: We broke up quite a bit.

Sara McArdle: What number of instances had you damaged up through the years?

Virginia Vertetis: Numerous. I am unable to even let you know what number of.

They fought quite a bit she says. Patrick was untrue; at different instances, jealous.

Virginia Vertetis [in court]:  He didn’t like me speaking to different males. It made him really feel humiliated.

They even fought over taxes as a result of Patrick hadn’t paid his in years. However principally, she says, they fought about his consuming.

Crainie Koellhoffer: When he was consuming, he was horrible. He was horrible.

Virginia says there have been a number of instances when Patrick was consuming that he was violent together with her.

Virginia Vertetis [in court]:  He pushed me down on the mattress. …He shoved me right into a wall …He threw me on the ground …

Crainie Koellhoffer: A few instances, this was in the direction of the top, I’d see bruises.

Crainie Koellhoffer: They might be on her arms or her legs or no matter. And I’d say, “Virginia.” She goes, “Oh, I am simply clumsy.”

However Virginia by no means reported any of those alleged incidents to police.

Erin Moriarty: However you are satisfied that he was abusing her?

Crainie Koellhoffer: Oh, I’m completely satisfied that he was abusive to her.

Erin Moriarty: Why do you assume then she stayed with him?

Crainie Koellhoffer: Each time I ask her those self same questions, “I really like him.” “However,” I’d say. “There is not any however, mother. I really like him.”

Ed Bilinkas [in court]:  Why did she stay silent? …She had numerous medical points.

Virginia struggled with an autoimmune illness. Three months earlier than the capturing, she went on incapacity from her instructing job.

Ed Bilinkas [in court]: She was weak, susceptible. …Gilhuley took benefit of that.

And the protection says there is a greater cause Virginia did not report something.

Ed Bilinkas: All through your complete relationship, Patrick Gilhuley had thrown up in her face when he abused her, “I am a cop. They’re by no means going to imagine you.”

And that’s the reason, says the protection, that Virginia panicked the night time she shot Patrick after which lied about it.

“This should be a dream,” homicide suspect says following arrest


Ed Bilinkas [in court]:  The cops come operating in …. “Get down! Get down!”  …at that time limit whereas she’s on 911 she’s considering to herself, after all of the beatings through the years that he beat her what he mentioned to her, “They’re by no means going to imagine you. ” …She makes up a narrative. She lies.

On the stand, combating by way of the haze of medicines, Virginia tries to persuade the jury she is now telling the reality. The couple argued that night time as that they had many instances, she mentioned, however this time was totally different.

Virginia Vertetis [in court]: I by no means noticed his eyes appear like that earlier than. …He mentioned, “I am gonna f—— kill you f—— c—.” …I used to be scared to demise.

Virginia Vertetis [in court]: I ran up the steps and bumped into the master suite. …I went over to the mattress, and I reached underneath the mattress. And I grabbed the gun. … I simply saved capturing. I shortly regarded. And he was nonetheless on stairs. So I simply saved capturing down the stairwell.

So what led as much as that horrible struggle?                                                    


A couple of weeks earlier than Virginia Vertetis shot and killed Patrick Gilhuley, hassle was brewing of their rocky relationship as soon as once more; this time over one other girl.

Colleen Roper: She’s the ex. And I am the brand new. So most likely, there’s gonna be a disgruntle there.

Colleen Roper had been seeing Patrick and when Virginia found it, she wasted little time contacting her.

Colleen Roper [in court]: I used to be getting prank — prank dangle ups on my telephone.

Prosecutor Matt Troiano: Are you able to approximate what number of prank calls you obtained?

Colleen Roper: Three or 4.

Matt Troiano: I would wish to direct your consideration to February, 4th 2014. …Do you recall whether or not or not you had obtained some communication on Fb?

Colleen Roper: I used to be getting good friend requests … I did not know who this individual was ‘trigger I am very selective about who I am associates with on Fb. …So I mentioned, “Who’re you?”

Roper says Patrick had informed her about Virginia, however had been lower than truthful and mentioned she was an ex-girlfriend. Believing him, Roper despatched Virginia this message again:  

Colleen Roper [in court]: “I am underneath the impression the 2 of you broke up. Please, do not good friend me once more. I did not do something to you.”  I am sorry [cries].

Matt Troiano: Take your time.

Colleen Roper:  And she or he texts me again one thing like — “You assume sleeping with my boyfriend of six years is not doing something to me?” And I mentioned, “No. Not if it is over.”

Virginia’s response? She informed Roper she had slept with Patrick that very morning. Patrick was so indignant, he broke up with Virginia by way of textual content.

Patrick Gilhuley textual content: We’re accomplished. So accomplished. Want you luck. Discover another person. You are able to do it. Good luck.

Per week later that they had one other heated textual content change after Patrick accused Virginia of contacting Colleen once more. Patrick left Virginia this indignant voicemail:

Patrick Gilhuley voicemail: Hey psycho… Psycho girl…

But combating was a part of their relationship, and Virginia and Patrick saved speaking. However the protection says within the weeks earlier than the capturing, Virginia had greater issues on her thoughts than Patrick Gilhuley. She had petitioned the college board to return to work and so they had voted towards her.

Virginia Vertetis [in court]: I used to be very upset. …I used to be prepared to return to high school. And I missed the children.

Virginia additionally missed her personal kids. KellIe was away in school and Billy, then 16, had not too long ago determined to maneuver in along with his father. Virginia had shared her misery over her son together with her therapist on March 3, the morning of the capturing.

Virginia Vertetis [in court]: It was simply actually powerful to speak about Billy. … I used to be heartbroken [cries].

Later that day, round 6 p.m., Virginia texted Patrick asking if he was coming over. He confirmed up a half hour later. Ed Bilinkas says Patrick had intercourse on his thoughts when he went over there.

Protection legal professional Ed Bilinkas [in court]: He had taken Viagra, which, not primarily based on private expertise, you are gonna discover out takes some time to kick in … So it needed to have been deliberate.

And the proof reveals that Patrick combined it with one thing else that night time. 

Erin Moriarty: How drunk was Patrick Gilhuley on March 3, 2014?

Ed Bilinkas:  …loopy drunk

Erin Moriarty: What, nearly thrice the — authorized restrict.

Ed Bilinkas: 3 times the authorized restrict. Completely.

In accordance with Virginia, after a failed try at sexual intimacy that night, Patrick grew annoyed. 

Virginia Vertetis [in court]:  I unzippered his pants.

Virginia Vertetis [in court]:  And he form of pushed me away and zippered up his pants and put his belt again on.

Virginia says she left Patrick type of dozing off on the ground and went to get firewood on the 7-Eleven, however when she returned he was gone.

Ed Bilinkas: They lastly — linked on — on a phone name. And he was screaming at her and ranting and raving about, “Why did you allow me? You did not inform me.” And she or he’s making an attempt to calm him down … and she or he lastly convinces him to come back again.

Virginia says she left open the entrance door, and whereas she was in one other room she heard Patrick slam and shatter the storm door, dropping glass on the mat inside.

Ed Bilinkas: When he got here again to the home, he was a raving lunatic.

Proof photograph: The shattered glass storm door

“48 Hours” requested Bilinkas to take us by way of what he says occurred in the home subsequent. Patrick ultimately calmed down, Bilinkas says, however they quickly began arguing once more. 

Ed Bilinkas: And that began the craze that, to me, was build up within him. She sees that. She — she will get up. And she or he begins to stroll away from him.

However then Virginia, says Bilinkas, made a deadly mistake and mentioned to Patrick, “at the very least I pay my taxes.”  

Erin Moriarty: Do you assume that line is what set every part off, “Not less than—I pay my taxes”?

Ed Bilinkas: Completely. …that is when he comes after her.

The protection believes that earlier that night, Patrick had found an IRS type that Virginia had crammed out to show him in for unpaid taxes.

Erin Moriarty: Ed, the place did the bodily altercation really happen?

Ed Bilinkas [Walking from the living room to the front door]: It began right here as she was getting into the lobby. He grabs her from behind … she’s making an attempt to get away. And he pushes her up towards the entrance door. …He grabs her by the throat and begins choking her. He seems her useless within the eye and says, “I am gonna f—— kill you, you c—.”

After combating on high of the damaged glass within the lobby, Bilinkas says Virginia managed to flee and ran upstairs to her bed room the place she grabbed the gun she says Patrick had left underneath the mattress.    

Ed Bilinkas [in the bedroom]: She reaches underneath. She grabs the gun. She runs out right here [to the doorway]. She sticks the gun across the nook and begins firing.

The protection says Virginia, fearing for her life, shot at Patrick. The primary shot missed. 

Ed Bilinkas: The second shot is the shot to — to the — to the hand as he is reaching up perhaps to attempt to cease or seize the gun. The subsequent shot goes to the neck. …the third shot is the one which hit his arm. He is beginning to come down [the stairs].

Ed Bilinkas: He will get shot within the again … it goes all through exterior of the chest. He is beginning to collapse and his physique lurches ahead and that is when he will get the final shot within the again. He is fatally wounded and he collapses … And that is the place he died, proper right here [at the bottom of the staircase].

Virginia informed the jury she sat frozen in worry earlier than strolling over to him, inclined on the ground.

Virginia Vertetis [in court, crying]:  I sat there subsequent to him. And I saved shaking him. “Patrick, please get up. Please get up.” And he wasn’t waking up.

Prosecutor Matt Troiano: She was mendacity to the jury underneath oath.

The state contends that Virginia’s story about what occurred in the home that night time is filled with holes.


Prosecutor Matt Troiano: In my workplace … I preserve a wall of all of the individuals which have been killed or are the victims of some crime and it does turn out to be private … I believe it ought to.

Prosecutor Matt Troiano can not help turning into invested in homicide instances — particularly when he believes the sufferer has been dragged by way of the mud.

Erin Moriarty: Principally her protection is blame the sufferer.

Prosecutor Matt Troiano: Oh, yeah … And it is onerous, it is a very one-sided argument, you realize, as a result of Patrick just isn’t there to defend himself.

Prosecutor Matt Troiano [in court to Virginia]: You had been indignant?

Virginia Vertetis: No, not indignant…

That is why Troiano felt strain to show to the jury that Virginia was the true aggressor that night time.

Erin Moriarty: It appears like what you are saying is Virginia Vertetis is a liar.

Matt Troiano: It is a great way to say it.

The reality, Troiano says, is that Virginia was obsessive about Patrick. She merely could not settle for that the connection was over.

Erin Moriarty: Why do you imagine that Virginia Vertetis shot and killed Patrick Gilhuley?

Matt Troiano: As a result of she was having issues, you realize, with … her son. She was having points with work. And Patrick, the person who actually she felt closest to … was simply up and leaving her.

And the proof, he says, is within the texts despatched after that February 4th break up over Colleen Roper:

Prosecutor Matt Troiano [in court]:  You recall saying to him issues like, “There will not be one other relationship. I will be useless first.”

Virginia Vertetis:  Sure.

Troiano says Virginia tried to get Patrick again by taking part in on his sympathy. She claimed she had A number of Sclerosis:

Matt Troiano [in court]: At the moment, did you particularly know that you just had MS?

Virginia Vertetis: I particularly believed I had MS.

Matt Troiano: I perceive that. However you did not inform him that you just imagine you had it. You informed him in reality that I do have it.

Virginia Vertetis: Sure.

However when that tactic did not work, Troiano says Virginia tried to lure Patrick with intercourse:

Virginia Vertetis textual content: I simply need ur intercourse

Matt Troiano [in court]: Did you ever ask him to come back and say that it was simply associates with advantages?

Virginia Vertetis: Sure.

Patrick Gilhuley
Patrick Gilhuley

By March 3, Patrick Gilhuley might lastly have had sufficient. His family and friends say he went to Virginia’s that night to finish issues together with her as soon as and for all. 

Paul Gilhuley | Patrick’s brother [in court]: And he mentioned to me that that is it … I am unable to do that anymore. ….And he additionally mentioned to me that he wished to debate together with her some tax state of affairs.

However that testimony appears to help the protection principle and legal professional Ed Bilinkas seizes on this:

Ed Bilinkas [in court]: And why would he discuss that tax state of affairs with my shopper, if you realize, primarily based in your dialog?

Paul Gilhuley: On prior conversations he had informed me that he was fearful about Virginia speaking to the IRS a couple of tax state of affairs.

Bilinkas says it is extra proof that it was Patrick’s unpaid taxes that sparked the deadly struggle.

Ed Bilinkas: He had overwhelmed her that night time … He had threatened to kill her that night time.

Had been Virginia Vertetis’ scratches from an altercation or self-inflicted?

However was there a bodily struggle that night time in any respect? Matt Troiano does not purchase it. He costs that Virginia’s accidents are self-inflicted and reveals the jury what he says seems to be Virginia scratching herself within the interrogation room video. 

13 hours inside an interrogation room


Erin Moriarty: So when the state says that she created these accidents, what do you say?

Ed Bilinkas: Bull crap, you realize? …How in regards to the harm to the throat? When did she create that?

Matt Troiano: If she did one, she did all.

Erin Moriarty: You imagine that?

Matt Troiano: Patrick Gilhuley was … an enormous man … if what she says is true, she would have regarded beat up, actually, actually unhealthy.

And if Patrick had damaged the glass storm door in anger and struggled with Virginia on high of the shards of glass, why does not Virginia have cuts and slashes?

Matt Troiano: You realize, you hear about — basically this demise wrestle that occurs in the midst of this lobby. …There is not any cuts from glass. There’s none of that.

And Troiano says he is aware of why.

Matt Troiano: Patrick did not break that tumbler. I do not assume that the proof helps that in any respect.

Troiano known as forensic skilled Howard Ryan to the stand to clarify to the jury why Virginia’s story about Patrick breaking the glass storm door could not be true.

Howard Ryan [in court}: This is the glass from the exterior storm door…

Howard Ryan [in court]: There’s typically three kinds of glass we cope with … they’re all going to do sure issues.

For starters, Ryan says storm doorways should not that straightforward to interrupt.  To check the state’s place, “48 Hours” employed Jim Molinaro, who works with Howard Ryan at Forensic Coaching Supply.

Erin Moriarty: So are nearly all storm doorways now which are used product of tempered glass?

Jim Molinaro: Sure.

Erin Moriarty: What makes tempered glass totally different?

Jim Molinaro: Tempered glass is stronger than common glass … typically talking it is about 4 instances stronger.

Erin Moriarty: When the defendant says that she heard the door break after Patrick Gilhuley slammed it, what’s your first response to that?

Jim Molinaro: I would not anticipate that to occur.

Erin Moriarty: OK. Do you wish to strive?

Jim Molinaro: We can provide it a strive, sure.

Erin Moriarty: OK.

We tried slamming the door over and over, and when that did not work we tried kicking it. That did not work, both.

Erin Moriarty: Do you imagine the defendant when she says that door — she heard the door break earlier than the capturing?

Jim Molinaro: No.

Even giving Virginia the good thing about the doubt that Patrick someway managed to interrupt the storm door, forensics seem to disprove that, too. Howard Ryan defined that throughout the capturing, one of many bullets went by way of each the entrance door and the glass storm door. Emanating from the bullet gap had been one thing known as radial traces and they’re telltale clues.

Proof photograph: Emanating from the bullet gap had been one thing known as radial traces and they’re telltale clues.

Howard Ryan [in court]: Radial fracture traces will solely happen on the primary break of the window.

Utilizing a set of doorways much like the crime scene, “48 Hours” requested Jim Molinaro to indicate us what occurs to an unbroken storm door when it is hit by a bullet.

Erin Moriarty: Now, you are not gonna be really firing the gun?

Jim Molinaro: No, I am gonna flip this over to Jeff Branyon from the Gwinnett County Police Division.

Jeff Branyon [yells]: Eyes and ears in place. All people behind the 15-yard line [Fires gun]

Erin Moriarty: You able to go look?

Jim Molinaro: Let’s have a look.

Erin Moriarty: Oh, my gosh.

Jim Molinaro: You’ll be able to see they level on to the place the bullet perforated the glass.

Erin Moriarty: This seems nearly an identical to the photographs launched at proof.

Jim Molinaro: Sure precisely, we could not have requested for higher outcomes.

Simply to see what the bullet gap would appear like if the glass was already damaged—like Virginia mentioned it was—we had Officer Branyon shoot the door once more.

Erin Moriarty: However what just isn’t right here that we noticed with the very first shot?

Jim Molinaro: You do not have the manufacturing of any radial fracture traces emanating out from the place the bullet went by way of the glass.

All that is proof, the state says, that the bullet was the one factor that broke the glass that night time; that Patrick by no means shattered it in a rage. However what do they imagine occurred proper earlier than the capturing?

Patrick’s personal daughter, Jennifer Gilhuley, says she heard every part. 

Jennifer Gilhuley  [in court, emotional] : I heard my dad screaming, “She’s hitting me. She’s hitting me. Cease. Cease.”


Prosecutor Matt Troiano: Jennifer was gonna be the star witness within the case.

Matt Troiano [in court]:  Are you aware a person by the identify of Virginia Vertetis?

Jennifer Gilhuley: I do.

Matt Troiano: And do you see Miss Vertetis in courtroom right here as we speak?

Jennifer Gilhuley: I do.

Matt Troiano: Might you establish her, please?

Jennifer Gilhuley: She’s sittin’ at that desk proper over there.

Jennifer Gilhuley, Patrick’s older daughter, was as near an eyewitness because the prosecution had.

Matt Troiano: Jennifer I would wish to direct your consideration to March 3, 2014. Do you recall that day?

Jennifer Gilhuley: [In tears] I do.

That night time, Jennifer acquired three calls from her father in simply 4 minutes, proper earlier than he was shot.

Jennifer Gilhuley
Jennifer Gilhuley testifies about what she heard in a telephone name together with her father the night time he was fatally shot

CBS Information

Jennifer Gilhuley [in court]:  The primary telephone name once I picked up … he was screaming, “She’s hitting me, she’s hitting me” …and I saved listening to him screaming “cease, cease.” …He known as me once more. …I simply heard yelling. I did not actually hear phrases.

The telephone calls show, Troiano says, that Patrick was not attacking Virginia — it was the opposite method round:

Matt Troiano: Did you talk along with your father once more?

Jennifer Gilhouley [in tears]:  I did. …I mentioned, ‘Dad I am coming.’ He is like,’ it is too far you will not get right here in time” … and the following factor I do know is I heard three loud pictures and I heard him say, ‘Holy s—, she’s capturing” … And the telephone name went useless. I am sorry. I am sorry [overcome with with emotion].

That was the final telephone name Patrick Gilhuley ever made. However he did not simply name Jennifer these thrice. He additionally made three different telephone calls to associates in those self same 4 minutes earlier than he was shot. Patrick’s telephone was later present in his pocket, which is why protection legal professional Ed Bilinkas says most of these calls had been really pocket dials.

Erin Moriarty: However they go to quite a few totally different individuals.

Ed Bilinkas: They go to quite a few totally different individuals, however … There is not any actual communication between any of these calls. You realize, I made three pocket dials yesterday.

Pocket dials would counsel that Patrick’s fingers had been free to assault Virginia. The protection calls legendary pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht to buttress their case.

Ed Bilinkas [in court]: He is been concerned in instances like John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Elvis Presley …

On this case, Dr. Wecht attracts the jury’s consideration to the wound on Patrick’s proper hand — which Wecht says was brought on by the primary bullet to hit him.

Dr. Cyril Wecht [in court]: It was fired as Mr. Gilhuley was reaching up — along with his proper hand, would slot in with that g– grazing gunshot wound.

And that, says the protection, suggests Patrick was developing the steps, in the direction of Virginia, simply as she described.

Dr. Cyril Wecht [in court]: My opinion … is that Mr. Gilhuley’s — proper hand was reaching up – towards — Ms. Vertetis.

Matt Troiano: It’s nearly bodily inconceivable for that to have occurred that method.

Erin Moriarty: So how do you imagine that Patrick sustained that bullet graze wound on his hand?

Matt Troiano: I believe that he was on the telephone along with his daughter. He was goin’ down the steps and he had the telephone as much as his ear. And the bullet got here proper previous. [Troiano holds phone up to his ear to demonstrate]

But when the prosecution is true, how did Patrick’s telephone get again into his pocket?

Matt Troiano: I believe she put it there.

Virginia did have loads of time, Troiano factors out, as a result of she did not name 911 for 25 minutes.

Matt Troiano [in court]: Not 25 seconds, not 2 1/2 minutes — 25 minutes.

Virginia’s rationalization? She says she could not discover her cellular phone and the battery on her land line was dying. However the state believes she was actually utilizing that point to wash up and place Patrick’s telephone in his pocket—staging a scene that will match the lie she informed police:

Virginia Vertetis’ 911 name: Anyone was breaking into my home.

Police say they discovered her bed room bathe moist and a single pair of pink pajama pants within the washer, which was operating.

Matt Troiano [in court]: Patrick Gilhuley left a .38 caliber loaded revolver beneath your mattress?

Virginia Vertetis: Sure he all the time had it underneath the mattress.

Gilhuley gun evidence photo
Proof photograph: The gun as seen on the staircase of Virginia Vertetis’ dwelling

Morris County Prosecutor’s Workplace

Most vital, Troiano is set to pin Virginia down on the place she acquired the gun. She claims Patrick left it there within the spring of 2012—two years earlier than the capturing—and it had been underneath her mattress ever since.

Matt Troiano: Did he depart it there as a result of he forgot it or did he depart it there since you wished it?

Virginia Vertetis: He left it there. He knew I used to be fearful. He knew I did not like being alone. When he — when–uhm [sighs]. Oh god, I simply misplaced my prepare of thought.

Sitting within the courtroom, Patrick’s youthful daughter, Heather, hears this after which realizes she has proof that Virginia’s story cannot be true. She calls the prosecutor that night time after courtroom.

Matt Troiano: I informed her that … “Nicely, you’ll be able to’t simply inform me this. I am unable to testify about it… It’s a must to testify.”

Heather Gilhuley is known as to the stand:

Matt Troiano: Heather, do you acknowledge this photograph?

Heather Gilhuley: Sure, I do.

She brings in an image, taken when her father was nonetheless alive.

“That is a photograph … of my father’s first gun that he had when he was a cop,” Heather Gilhuley testified.

Morris County Prosecutor’s Workplace

Matt Troiano: What’s {that a} photograph of?

Heather Gilhuley: That is a photograph … of my father’s first gun that he had when he was a cop.

Matt Troiano: And when did you are taking that photograph?

Heather Gilhuley: August of 2012.

Matt Troiano: And do you recall the place you took that photograph?

Heather Gilhuley: In Staten Island at my mom’s home the place I used to be dwelling on the time.

That places the gun 50 miles from Virginia’s home months after Virginia mentioned she had the gun hidden underneath her mattress.

Ed Bilinkas: Possibly he took the gun. Possibly he cleaned it. Possibly introduced it again.

However Troiano thinks she stole it. Two weeks earlier than the capturing, cell tower knowledge hint Virginia driving from New Jersey to Patrick’s dwelling in Staten Island—when he wasn’t there. She says she by no means went inside.

Matt Troiano [in court]: It is your testimony that you did not have a key to that residence.

Virginia Vertetis: Sure.

The protection is now struggling, and Ed Bilinkas is annoyed—as a result of the principles of proof restrict what he can inform the jury about an incident in Patrick’s previous.

Ed Bilinkas: He was suspended from the New York police pressure for beating his first spouse.

Newspaper articles from 1996 inform the story of an alleged assault the place Patrick Gilhuley slammed his then-wife’s head towards the wall and the sink. However all of the jury heard was this:

Virginia Vertetis [in court]: He informed me that– at one level, he hit his spouse and acquired in hassle with the police however … that he actually simply acquired a slap on the wrist.

Patrick was charged with misdemeanor assault and suspended with out pay. The costs had been later dropped.

Ed Bilinkas: Let me let you know one thing. For those who put your fingers on a lady, as soon as, you are able to do it once more.

However what would the jury assume?

Gina Samara | Juror: We heard voicemails, we learn textual content messages. He had a mood.


As Prosecutor Matt Troiano ready for closing arguments, he reviewed essential proof within the case: the storm door, Heather Gilhuley’s photograph of the gun and Patrick’s automotive key fob, which was present in items all through the home. Troiano thinks he is aware of the way it acquired that method.

Proof photograph: Patrick Gilhuley’s key fob

Morris County Prosecutor’s Workplace

Matt Troiano:  My principle is she simply takes it and she or he breaks it herself … the way in which to maintain him there was to interrupt that key fob.

But it surely was only a principle. There have been no fingerprints and no DNA on the fob, so Troiano did not know whether or not he’d be capable to make that argument to the jury.

However throughout the protection closing argument, Troiano noticed his alternative.

Protection legal professional Bilinkas [in court]: Who broke the important thing fob?

Ed Bilinkas supplied the jury his principle of how the important thing fob might have been damaged.

Ed Bilinkas: Prosecutor’s place is there was no indicators of a wrestle. Nicely, there is a damaged key fob.

And that gave Prosecutor Troiano the opening he wanted:

Matt Troiano [in court]: Are you aware what you’ll be able to’t do after the important thing fob’s damaged? You’ll be able to’t drive your automotive anymore.

If Patrick could not use his automotive to depart the home, then that will clarify the six calls he made within the minutes main as much as the capturing.

Matt Troiano [in court, holding up key fob]: Patrick Gilhuley would’ve needed to name anyone to choose him up. He wasn’t going anyplace if this was damaged.

The protection is hoping the jury will imagine that Patrick was a violent man.

Ed Bilinkas [in court]: The proof is obvious that my shopper was in worry of her life … If she did not kill him, he would’ve killed her, interval.

Erin Moriarty: Patrick Gilhuley does have at the very least one incident in his background. Does not that make you marvel if in reality … there was some form of bodily altercation with Virginia?

Matt Troiano: No, no. I can be as emphatic as I might be. No.

Matt Troiano: There was an incident along with his spouse a really very long time in the past. And that spouse, who was his ex-wife on the time of the trial … sat by way of that trial each single day.

Matt Troiano [in court]: This isn’t self-defense. It is a homicide.

After nearly seven hours of deliberations, the jury reached a verdict.

Ed Bilinkas: I am getting extra nervous.

Matt Troiano: I used to be positively not assured in any respect…

Choose Stephen Taylor:  Madame forelady, with regard to rely one … what’s the verdict of the jury?

Juror: Responsible.

Virginia Vertetis is discovered responsible of first-degree homicide.

Matt Troiano: I ready them for the worst. I believe that they had been most likely anticipating the worst. So when it turns the opposite method … It felt good. It was emotional.

Choose Stephen Taylor: Alright women and gents of the jury, your service on this case is now full. I hope you discovered it to be a rewarding expertise for you…

Patti Meudt | Juror: I felt actually snug with you realize, our resolution.

Vertetis jurors
Jurors, from left, Gina Samara, Patti Meudt and John Hoover.

CBS Information

“48 Hours” spoke to a few of the jurors after the decision — John Hoover, Gina Samara and Patti Meudt.

Erin Moriarty: Did any one of many jurors imagine that it was self-defense?

John Hoover: No.

PattI Meudt: No.

Erin Moriarty: Not one?

Gina Samara: No.

They usually say the important thing fob was crucial:

Proof photograph: Patrick Gilhuley’s damaged key fob

Erin Moriarty: Do you imagine … that she broke it so he could not depart?

Patti Meudt: I actually do. I actually do. ‘Trigger we really took all of the items within the jury room —

John Hoover: And put it again collectively —

Patti Meudt: –and all of it again collectively once more —

Gina Samara: …it wasn’t damaged. It was simply disassembled —

Patti Meudt: There was not one damaged piece … right down to the battery. Put the entire thing again collectively.

Erin Moriarty: And what did that say to you, Patti?

Patti Meudt: It regarded prefer it was deliberately taken aside.

John Hoover: Not letting him get away, not lettin’ him begin the automotive and get away.

Two months after the decision, Patrick’s household addresses the decide at Virginia’s sentencing:

Paul Gilhuley: My identify is Paul Gilhuley, Patrick’s brother … Patrick is not going to be there to stroll his daughters Jennifer and Heather down the aisles after they marry…

One of many statements comes from the lady he allegedly attacked all these years in the past — Patrick’s ex-wife, the mom of their kids:

Choose Stephen Taylor: Can I get your identify for the file please?

Theresa Higgins: It is Theresa Higgins and I am studying a letter on behalf of my daughters Jennifer and Heather Gilhuley.

Theresa Higgins [reading statement in tears]: “Our father won’t ever be capable to hear us want him one other glad birthday or one other Completely happy Father’s Day … Our father won’t ever once more get to listen to “I really like you daddy.”

Officers and press react to the Vertetis trial


Virginia Vertetis was sentenced to 30 years in jail with out the potential for parole.

Erin Moriarty: Do you assume you’ll, in some unspecified time in the future, see Virginia stroll out of jail?

Crainie Koellhoffer: Earlier than I die? I hope so. 

Koellhoffer helps together with her daughter’s attraction. 

Crainie Koellhoffer [in tears]:  One of many issues she retains telling me is, “Mother, do not depart me.” And I hope I haven’t got to earlier than she will get out.  

And now Virginia, who feared abandonment, might spend the remainder of her life, alone.

Virginia’s daughter and son didn’t attend the trial or sentencing. Her mom says Virginia didn’t need them to see her that method.


In 2020 Virginia Vertetis’ homicide conviction was overturned on attraction. The appellate courtroom concluded that the jury was improperly instructed on the state’s self-defense legislation. In 2021 Vertetis pleaded responsible to the lesser cost of aggravated manslaughter and obtained a sentence of 20 years, with a 7.5 yr credit score for time served.  

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