Gillette to Testify in His Trial

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), February 19, 2014 | Go to article overview

Gillette to Testify in His Trial


Byline: Greg Bolt The Register-Guard

Johan Gillette will take the stand to testify that he killed two people in their 70s in an act he will say was self-defense, an attorney for the accused man said Tuesday.

Gillette's trial on aggravated murder charges begins today with opening statements by a Lane County prosecutor and Gillette's defense team. If convicted, he will face a second proceeding that could result in a sentence of death.

A jury of eight women, four men and four alternates was sworn in Tuesday for a trial that could last five weeks or more. The panel will decide whether Gillette, 38, brutally murdered his father, 73-year-old former firefighter Jim Gillette, and his father's domestic partner, 71-year-old retired music professor Anne Dhu McLucas, or whether he killed them because he legitimately believed his own life was in danger.

Gillette will testify when the defense puts on its case. The state will go first and will begin calling witnesses once attorneys finish making their opening statements to the jury.

The trial gets underway almost 11/2 years after the bodies of James Gillette and Mc Lucas were found in the bedroom of the elder Gillette's home on Needham Road just south of Eugene. Both had suffered massive blows to the head, and although McLucas was still alive when discovered, she died a short time later at a hospital.

In some ways the trial could become as much about James Gillette as about the oldest of his two sons. Defense attorneys could call a series of witnesses they say will describe the former Eugene Fire Department firefighter as a belligerent, violent and threatening man who both belittled and dominated his children and the women in his life.

Mark Sabitt, who is trying the case with co-counsel Dan Koenig, said he may call former firefighters who will testify that James Gillette had an angry disposition and frequently threatened to kill people, including co-workers and supervisors in the fire department, when he felt they had crossed him. Others may testify that the elder Gillette was often spoiling for a fight and often carried a handgun with him. …

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