76-year-old woman fatally shoots dying husband inside Florida hospital, charged with murder

An elderly woman who fatally shot her terminally ill husband in a Florida hospital after she said they made a pact to do so has been charged with first-degree murder.

Ellen Gilland, 76, was taken into custody Saturday after refusing to leave her husband’s room at AdventHealth Hospital in Daytona Beach. SWAT team members used a nonlethal explosive device to distract her and then tried to use a stun gun on her, authorities in Daytona Beach said Monday.

However, the Taser gun failed to subdue the woman and she fired a shot into the ceiling of her husband’s hospital room before dropping a .38 revolver and being taken into custody after a four-hour standoff on Saturday, according to a police report from the Daytona Beach Police Department.

Gilland appeared before a judge in Volusia County Monday and, in addition to the murder charge, was also charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

She was being held without bond at the Volusia County Jail Tuesday morning, jail records show.

According to police, Gilland told officers that her 77-year-old husband, Jerry Gilland, had been ill for some time and they had planned the shooting together.

Ellen Gilland, 76, has been charged with first-degree murder and assault in connection to the fatal shooting of her husband at a Daytona Beach Hospital. Pictured are officers outside the hospital room where the shooting took place. Gilland was arrested after a nearly four-hour standoff, part of which is shown here.
During a press conference Saturday, Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young said authorities believe the couple planned the shooting about three weeks prior.

Gilland’s terminally ill husband intended to fire the weapon himself, but “did not have the strength,” Young said, “so she had to carry it out for him.”

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Police said Gilland had planned to shoot herself but didn’t.

In a police report released Monday, an officer wrote witnesses reported seeing Gilland positioned behind her husband’s bed and pointing the gun at the door.

According to the report, Gilland kept the gun pointed at the room’s door while talking with officers outside.

Gilland did not threaten to shoot anyone else, but didn’t put her gun down as SWAT officers attempted to negotiate her surrender, police said.

The standoff ended when she dropped the gun after nearly four hours and officers took her into custody.

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AdventHealth Daytona Beach released this statement Monday to The Daytona Beach News-Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network:

“We are devastated by the tragedy that unfolded at the AdventHealth Daytona Beach campus today, and our prayers are with those impacted. We are grateful for the Daytona Beach Police Department in helping ensure the safety of our patients, team members and visitors.”

Citing an open police investigation, AdventHealth spokesperson David Breen said the hospital would not release additional comment.

Contributing: Sheldon Gardner and Brenno Carillo, The Daytona Beach News-Journal