As DA Considers Death Penalty, Victim’s Family Speaks Out

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gilley court

Gilley in court.


As the District Attorney decides whether to seek the death penalty in the rape and murder of a Stockton woman, the victim’s aunt told FOX40 she thinks Jason Gilley should be put the death for what he did to Dalene Carlson, and her family.

Gilley was in court Monday, but did not enter a plea on charges in connection with the disappearance, rape and shooting death of Carlson. Carlson went missing in August, he body was found in an Escalon corn field this month.

Carlson’s aunt, Margaret Baker, told FOX40 she is convinced Gilley’s failures to cooperate with police during the initial investigation in August is proof of the truth. Gilley was originally arrested for Carlson’s disappearance in August, but later released because of a lack of evidence.

“The amount of agony that we went through every day it was harder, it was not easier. It was harder, and harder and harder. And he had this lie he knew what he did, and he kept it inside of him and he’s so wrong for doing that. I hope that he goes down. God forgive me for saying that, but I hope he does,” said Baker.

During Monday’s court appearance, San Joaquin Deputy District Attorney Robert Himelblau said his office is proceeding as if this is a death penalty case, however a final decision has not been made. He said the decision to actual seek the death penalty needs to take into account whether Gilley would actually be put to death if convicted.

“We just can’t ignore it, the fact may be the system isn’t working now or is on hold right now because of the Morales case, which is our case. … right now it factors in to our weighing process, our decision making process. … ultimately it’s the law,” Himelblau said.

California’s death penalty is currently on hold because of an appeal filed by convicted killer Michael Morales.

In addition to the murder charge, Gilley also faces counts of rape and discharging a firearm. Those additions are special circumstances that make this case eligible for the death penalty.

As for Carlson’s aunt, she is left with a lot of anger and confusion as to why this happened to her niece.

“I don’t understand that, I can’t conceive why someone would do it to somebody who just wanted to be a friend. She just wanted people to like her. She loved people, she was a little social magnet, you know. I can’t understand why. I honestly think he probably advanced himself, and she probably refused it.”

Gilley’s attorney, Michael Bullard, already asked that news media cameras be barred from the courtroom. Judge Seth R. Hoyt says he will make that decision on a day-by-day basis.

Gilley will return to court November 21st, where all parties will discuss how much of the thousands of pages of discovery evidence is available and when Gilley may make a plea.

Bob Moffitt contributed to this report.

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