It’s OK to shoot hookers in Texas — but only if it’s dark outside

It’s hard to imagine, without knowing the story, how someone could shoot a woman in the back of the head and then, quite literally, get away with murder.  Actually, it’s pretty hard to believe when you do know the story because that is what has just happened in Texas.

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.

It’s OK to shoot hookers in Texas — but only if it’s dark outside

36 thoughts on “It’s OK to shoot hookers in Texas — but only if it’s dark outside

  1. 1

    So in Texas, property is worth more than someone’s life. And they claim to be pro-life… Of course, a female prostitute is not really a person unlike a fetus.

  2. 5

    WTF!!! Does Texas just get away with this kind of shitty stuff just because it is, you know, Texas? It is still part of the US, right? Texas reminds me of the Northern part of Nigeria with its Sharia law. There, it is perfectly legal to sentence a woman to death by stoning for committing Adultery, but even they never execute such judgments. After public outcry at such judgements, they announce a quick pardon of the ‘adulteress’. But Texas, I mean when will the famed US Democracy come to Texas or is that not to be expected until the Democracy train leaves Afghanistan? Who are those jury members anyway? I am just angry at this.

  3. 7

    So he (more than likely) had trouble performing, she insisted on being paid for her time that she could have used to do other things, but because he didn’t get his willy waxed, he gets to shoot her in the dark while she sits in her car. I’m not one for vigilantism, but there is a large part of me that hopes someone(s) decide to pay that shitstain a visit and put a beatdown on him. It won’t bring her back, but since justice appears to be out of the question in Texas, I guess vengeance is the only thing left.

    I have to wonder what her version of the story would have been, had she been able to tell it. Part of me wonders if he didn’t kill her to shut her up about what he was or wasn’t able to do. After all, we only have his version of what happened and it doesn’t sound as if anyone in that courtroom gave a damn about the victim.

  4. 8

    I learned in Texas that this same law can be used to shoot someone in the back if they are exiting your house with stolen property. Like a TV, or something, but that they actually still had to be in your house when you shoot them. Once they are ought of the house, then you can’t shoot them.

    I don’t get nor understand how the jury could possibly use the law to acquit this murderer. If she was in the car, then obviously she was out of the house, and further she didn’t steal the money from him. He had given it to her. Right, she didn’t complete her end of the transaction, but perhaps that might have been because he tried to pull some really scary shit on her and she said “No fucking way.”

    Murder. And the law let him get away with it, because she was a sex worker.

  5. A R

    I don’t see how that defense could possibly have justified. Yes, the law may say people can use deadly force to recover stolen property taken in a night-time raid. However, there was no property. He did pay and arrange for a service which she did not perform, but a service is not something that can be “stolen”. That really makes me think that they’re calling HER the property. She is a human, and therefore cannot be property. It just makes me sick that there exists a jury that could declare him not guilty of murder. When people pay prostitutes, they are not “buying” somebody, they’re paying someone for their time. That jury deserves giant, diseased penises shoved into their every orifice.

  6. 12

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think escort automatically means sex, just alot of sex workers work under that pseudonym. Just because she didn’t give him a “happy ending” doesn’t mean she didn’t hold up her end of the bargin.

    What’s next? Getting shot over a refusal of an offering of “coffee” after an expensive meal? Some guys have the exact same view of entitlement.

    PS. Because prostitution is illegal, doesn’t that mean any contract is null and void, meaning if it was prostitution, in the eyes of the law, he gave her money and shot her when she refused to give it back.

    “Hey, here’s 10 bucks”, “Thanks”, “I want my money back”, “No”, *BANG*

  7. 13

    What the …? Whenever I think Texas cannot become any more of a surreal nightmare I get surprised. This is wrong on so many levels that I don’t even know where to start. I don’t even want to get into the whole prostitution thing so let’s just skip this part. Instead let’s focus on the “defending your property” part (even writing the word property in this context makes me cringe but let’s ignore that as well).

    In the civilized parts of this world the right to defend yourself is always limited to an adequate response to the threat. Just because somebody attacks you with their fists does not give you the right to pull a deadly weapon on them. If you did, you would go to jail (and quite rightfully in my opinion). The same is true if you continue to “defend yourself” when the attacker is already down.

    But on the other hand: If this is the attitude of many texans it explains a lot. I always used to be surprised when I heard strange things coming out of Texas. But I probably made the mistake of mistaking Texas for a civilized part of the world.

    Btw. No offense intended to the decent people living in Texas. Of course they do exist. But obviously the majority of the inhabitants of Texas are a bunch of cowboys and rednecks because otherwise the laws in a democracy would be different.

  8. Ika

    How is this theft of PROPERTY? What the hell was she stealing – her vagina? Even if he contracted with her for sex, she’s not absconding with property, she’s failing to provide a service.

  9. 17

    I don’t understand what’s going on. The Federal Government is doing its’ best to deal with the Afghan Taliban, and the Pakistani Taliban; why can’t it do something about the Texas Taliban?

  10. 18

    Let the Mexicans have that rat hole back. I used to live next door in one that is just as bad(OK) Now I live in a small ountry in Europe and am damn glad glad I moved back in 99 over here.

  11. 19

    You raise a good point about underground economic activity, but I think the real problem here is that in Texas you can take a human life in defense of property, and that’s just twisted.

  12. 22

    All of my rage, every last bit.

    Here’s hoping the judge, prosecutor and the jury are smart enough to see past his bullshit defense. Because prostitution is illegal, all an escort can offer and all you can pay her for is her time. The contract was that he would give her money to spend time with him, that is perfectly legal (at least here), he may have been looking for sex but she had no obligation to provide it. Time spent, money paid, no theft, therefore this nighttime theft bull does NOT apply. This is murder, throw the book (and any other heavy blunt objects you can find) at him.

  13. 23

    Can you imagine a circumstance under which someone shot their dealer for not giving them the right kind of drugs?

    I know of a case where someone called the cops because a drug dealer sold them a very expensive bag of flour, but no gunfire was involved.

  14. 25

    Now, let’s imagine for a moment that she’d had sex with him, and he refused to pay her, and so she shot and killed him in the process of recovering her fee. Does anyone–ANYONE–think for a second that she’d have found not guilty?

  15. 27

    WTF this breaks my brain. This ruling violates previous jurisprudence and law so badly.

    For one, no matter the law in Texas, you are not allowed to shoot a fleeing subject. This is federal law.

    For two, no matter the law in Texas, you are not allowed to claim defense in commission of a crime. The guy says he paid for a sex act. This is a crime in Texas.

    For three, he fired thirty times.

    WTF is wrong with these fucking judges?

    1. 27.1

      Where did you find the reference for how many times he fired? The linked article indicates he’s 30 years old, but if you found the docket or something indicating that he shot her thirty fucking times, I’d like to see it (a few of the people I showed this to are assuming it was a “warning shot” gone wrong; if I can prove she was shot on a Jodi Arias scale, that should disprove that viewpoint entirely).

  16. 30

    If McDonalds charges me for fries but forgets to put them in the bag can I shoot the person at the drive-thru if they refuse to immediately rectify the error? If I order and pay for a meat lovers pizza with extra bacon (sorry, PZ) and the delivery guy drops off a cheese pizza instead can I shoot him in the back as he’s getting back into the car? Holy crap. A dispute over a fee for service transaction can result in a legal killing. Awesome.

  17. 31

    I understood that, although the theft thing was part of the defense, he was acquited paertly because he fired at the tires, and some shrapnel hit the unlucky woman. So he shot to stop a theft, but without the intent to kill.

    1. 31.1

      That still does not explain why he was acquited. Even if I buy this explanation: Then it would not be murder but manslaughter and will still get you in prison.

      In most countries here in Europe you would go to prison even if no one was hurt if you fired a gun in a public place.

  18. 32

    Salve, quando ho fatto per la prima volta un commento su questo blog ho erroneamente spuntato “notifica nuovi commenti via email”… ora purtroppo ogni volta che viene aggiunto un commento ricevo quattro email con lo stesso commento. C’è un modo per annullare questo servizio? Grazie!

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