Ezekiel Gilbert hired a woman from Craigslist to be his escort and, after having spent the time he paid for in his apartment with him, she left. But they hadn’t had sex, so Gilbert wanted his money back. Instead, the woman got into her car and he shot her multiple times. She was paralyzed and ultimately died from her wounds and he was charged with the murder.
His defense said that it is perfectly legal because of the “nighttime theft” rule in Texas which states that it’s OK “to use deadly force to recover property during a nighttime theft.” Now, he’d paid the woman she claimed for the time and he claimed for the sex, so it was really a dispute over whether he was getting what he paid for. But instead of, say, suing or claiming fraud, he decided to shoot a woman with no weapons in the back because he didn’t get what he wanted from her escorting. And he got away with it.
Here’s what I wonder. Would any of this have happened if having sex for money was legal?
This is a big problem with underground, illegal economies. When you pay for a special massage or escort service, sex isn’t clearly, necessarily in the cards. Because, legally, it can’t be. There’s no way that, if he’d sued her for not having sex with him, he would have won. But, somehow, his understanding that there would be sex is enough justification for him to convince the jury that he was just trying to get money he’d been duped out of giving away because he had the expectation of getting laid.
Can you imagine a circumstance under which someone shot their dealer for not giving them the right kind of drugs? Like the dealer sold the guy some perfectly legal version of pot, therefore the guy buying shot the dealer because he was expecting marijuana and then a court said, well, you didn’t like what you paid for, so it was fair to shoot the guy for not giving you what you really wanted. There was an exchange of goods and services — you just thought you were getting something else for your money.
If prostitution (or drugs for that matter) was legal, there would be consumer protection, clarity in advertising, and protection for those selling the services. But apparently the only consumer protection now is to just shoot someone if they’re taking advantage of you. Because your foolishness in falling for their scheme means that death for them is the appropriate action to take. At least, according to juries in Texas.