The identity of the mystery woman who showed up day after day for the trial of trust fund killer Tommy Gilbert is finally revealed in a new book about the psycho who shot his father for cutting his allowance.
She is Lila Chase, the niece of actor Chevy Chase, who secretly dated the Princeton grad for two years, says true-crime author John Glatt.
No one could work out who the attractive brunette was who would turn up in court with Gilbert’s mother Shelley to show her support as Tommy went on trial in Manhattan in 2019 for killing his 70-year-old father Tom Gilbert Sr. after he had cut his allowance.
But in his book Golden Boy, Glatt reveals Chase’s identity.
‘Lila is the one person who has stood by Tommy through everything,’ Glatt told DailyMail.com.
‘And she says she will stick by him for the rest of his life. She still really feels for him — she still loves him.’
Thomas ‘Tommy’ Gilbert Jr., 37, is serving a term of 30 years to life for the murder of his father Thomas Gilbert Sr. in January 2015. He went to his parents’ apartment on Manhattan’s tony Beekman Place after his father gradually cut his allowance down from $800 to $300 a week and shot him dead
At his trial, a mystery brunette woman turned up with Tommy’s mother Shelley to support him. True crime author John Glatt reveals in his upcoming book Golden Boy, out July 20, that the mystery woman is Lila Chase, the niece of actor Chevy Chase
But Lila, now 36, cannot be with her love. He is currently Inmate Number 19A3615, locked up in the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, a six-hour drive from Manhattan.
Gilbert, 37, is serving a term of 30 years to life for second-degree murder. His earliest release date is in April 2044.
DailyMail.com has been given an exclusive look at Glatt’s book which will be released on July 20.
Tommy Gilbert went to his parents’ eighth floor apartment in tony Beekman Place on Manhattan’s East Side, on January 4, 2015, saying he wanted to speak to his father, who had gradually cut his allowance down from $800 to $300 a week.
Golden Boy: A Murder Among the Manhattan Elite hits shelves on July 20
He asked his mother to get him a sandwich and Coke. She went out but had a feeling she shouldn’t have left the two alone and turned back.
When she returned Tommy was gone and Tom was dead, lying in a pool of blood in his bedroom, with a .40-caliber Glock pistol in his left hand.
He had been killed by a single hollow-point bullet to the head. Forensic tests showed the gun was pressed so hard against the older man’s temple that when Tommy had attempted to fire a second shot, it jammed as the first casing wouldn’t eject.
‘By the time Tom Gilbert hit the floor, he was dead,’ Glatt writes.
Prosecutors said Tommy made the scene look like a suicide by placing the Glock’s grip in Tom’s hand, then clenching his dad’s fingers into a fist and placing the hand and gun on his chest.
‘Tommy then rushed out of the bedroom, leaving his father lying dead on the floor with blood and brain matter oozing into a puddle below his head.’
When Shelley called 911, she told the dispatcher she knew who had killed her husband. ‘My son, who’s nuts,’ she said. ‘But I didn’t know he was this nuts.’
Tommy Gilbert had driven 600 miles to Clarksburg, Ohio, to buy the gun illegally seven months earlier, Glatt writes.
Even as a child Gilbert had delusions. He considered certain people and things were ‘contaminated’ and avoided New York’s JFK Airport at all costs.
During a trip to Princeton, Gilbert wrote: ‘My dad made me pull over for gas near JFK which at the time was severely contaminated. This led to all my new clothes being contaminated.
‘It was one of the single most traumatic experiences of my life.’
He told a psychiatrist that skits on Saturday Night Live — the show that made Lila’s uncle famous — were poking fun at him, and he planned to hire an entertainment lawyer to sue the show.
Tommy’s parents approved of Lila, now 36, and talk of marriage was in the air, Glatt reveals, but his heavy cocaine use drove them apart. Shelley and Lila are pictured sitting in court together in 2015
Police arrested Thomas Gilbert Sr.’s son on a murder charge after they say he went to his father’s Manhattan apartment, shot him in the head after an argument about money, and tried to make it look like a suicide
A dated family photo shows Thomas Gilbert Jr. appearing happy with his parents Shelley and Thomas Sr. before killing him in cold blood
Shelley Gilbert (pictured leaving court in 2019) testified against her son as the court heard her 911 call after finding her dead husband and pointed to her son as the murderer
This is the upscale Manhattan apartment building where the murder took pace
He allegedly tried to kill former roommate Peter Smith because he thought he was mistreating his dog. Although he has never been charged, he is suspected of throwing a Molotov cocktail into the Smith family’s 300-year-old house in Sagaponack in the Hamptons and burning it to the ground around 5 am one September day in 2013. Smith would normally have been alone in the house, but by chance he was staying with a friend.
Lila Chase — whose father is Chevy Chase’s (pictured) older brother Edward Chase —was his one true romance. ‘It was the first serious relationship for both of them,’ Glatt writes. ‘And they were in love’
Glatt’s book, published by St. Martin’s Press, paints a picture of a spoiled man-child who refused to grow up and get a proper job. Instead, his life consisted of wild drug-taking and frequent overseas surfing trips.
His hedge-fund-manager father supported his lifestyle with cash. Apart from the weekly allowance he financed his Jeep, expensive club memberships and other costs. He kept him on the payroll of his firm even though no-one knew what the younger man did.
Even that was not enough, so Tommy would often approach his mother for more handouts. In 2012, the year he turned 28, his parents gave him a total of $74,000. The following year he was getting up to $10,000 a month.
As Tom Sr. started cutting his allowance, Tommy thought of other ways to make money. He bought a credit card skimmer and even contacted a real estate agent and asked her to sell his parents’ home in the Hamptons for $11.5 million — knowing he could never benefit until his father was dead.
The devastatingly handsome 6’3′ blond hunk had a string of high-profile girlfriends, including socialite Lizzy Fraser — who Glatt says ‘was well known on the Hamptons’ social circuit for frequently carrying a water bottle full of vodka’ — Hell’s Kitchen contestant Briana Swanson, and glamorous publicist Anna Rothschild, who is 19 years older than him.
‘I just thought, why isn’t he dating a 25-year-old model?’ Rothschild mused. ‘But if he wants to go out with me, so be it, I’m not going to fight.’
But Lila Chase — whose father is Chevy’s older brother Edward Chase —was his one true romance. ‘It was the first serious relationship for both of them,’ Glatt writes. ‘And they were in love.’
Gilbert Jr. fled the scene after shooting his father and was said to have barricaded himself into his Chelsea apartment after the murder
Manhattan socialite Anna Rothschild, 51, dated the accused killer (pictured together) in 2014 and said he was a loner with few friends
She has never been mentioned before in relation to the Gilbert case, even though, during the trial, prosecutor Craig Ortner referred to a two-year romantic relationship with ‘the niece of a famous Hollywood actor’ who came from a wealthy family.
Lila was manager to Olympic medalist Ashley Holzer, one of the top dressage riders in North America. She spent three months every winter in Wellington, Florida, the equestrian capital of the country.
John Glatt’s book, published by St. Martin’s Press, paints a picture of a spoiled man-child who refused to grow up and get a proper job. Instead, his life consisted of wild drug-taking and frequent overseas surfing trips
When she was hospitalized there with pneumonia she called Tommy, who said he would come down immediately.
‘And he drove, 25 hours. He just got in his car and drove to see me in hospital,’ she told Glatt.
Tommy’s parents approved of Lila and talk of marriage was in the air, Glatt reveals, but his heavy cocaine use drove them apart.
‘Their relationship was becoming more platonic and less physical, as Lila worried about Tommy’s drug taking and distanced herself. Although marriage was no longer in the cards, they remained close,’ he writes.
After Tommy was incarcerated in Rikers Island awaiting trial, Lila was a regular visitor, partly to help his defense as he had a contentious relationship with his then-lawyer, Alex Spiro.
‘I worked with Alex and he tried to get me to get Tommy to do this or agree to that. But after a while, I was just there as a friend,’ she said.
Gilbert was behind bars for four years before his trial as Spiro argued time and again that he wasn’t mentally fit to take the stand. In September 2015, eight months after the killing, he was successful, only for the prosecution to appeal.
During his jail time Gilbert’s already fragile mental health deteriorated further. He thought it was a good idea to ask one friend to host a fundraiser to help his legal defense.
‘Who the f**k would come to this benefit,’ the friend thought. ‘What’s it for? Get a gun killer out of jail?’
He picked fights with fellow inmates, stopped taking his medication and battled Spiro over whether they should use an insanity defense. He even wrote to the judge and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. saying he wanted to fire his attorney and have a public defender appointed.
‘I think he would admit to being OCD, but he is not comfortable to say he’s a paranoid schizophrenic,’ Lila Chase said.
His handsome good looks became hidden by ever-longer hair and a scraggly beard and he claimed he was suffering from radioactive poisoning. He faked suicide by saying he had swallowed a battery. When he was taken for an X-ray he was found to be holding a battery over his stomach.
When the four-week trial started, the jury was tasked with deciding whether Gilbert was mentally competent at the time of the murder. Much of the time the defendant wasn’t even present as he repeatedly asked to leave the courtroom. When he was there, he constantly interrupted the proceedings.
But eventually the jury decided he was sane at the time he killed his father. They were convinced by the can of Coke he had asked his mother to go and buy so she was out of the apartment.
‘The Coke was the aha moment for a lot of us,’ jury member Steven David Torres said.
‘It was the conversation when he asked his mom to go out and get him a Coca-Cola and come back in an hour.
‘He knew that they didn’t have it in the apartment, and that’s when it clicked that he knew what he was doing.’
Gilbert is currently Inmate Number 19A3615, locked up in the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, a six-hour drive from Manhattan
The handsome Princeton-graduate is pictured in court in 2015. When the four-week trial started in 2019, the jury was tasked with deciding whether Gilbert was mentally competent at the time of the murder
At his 2019 court appearance, Gilbert’s handsome good looks became hidden by ever-longer hair and a scraggly beard
A second juror Julie Thiry-Couvillion agreed. ‘Did he know what he was doing was morally wrong?’ she asked.
‘The can of Coke answers this, because he knew he had to get his mother out of the apartment and that’s the reason. No, he didn’t want her to make a sandwich there…he wanted her to go.’
Glatt has written more than 20 other true crime books including ones on Chris Watts, who killed his wife and two young daughters, Josef Fritzl who held his daughter as a sex slave in Austria for 27 years and Ariel Castro who locked three women in his basement in Cleveland.
He is currently finishing one on ‘cult mom’ Lori Vallow.
But he said Golden Boy was his most challenging book, because of his doubts over Tommy Gilbert’s competency.
‘I don’t think he should have stood trial,’ the author told DailyMail.com. ‘He was clearly incompetent, he sabotaged his own defense, wouldn’t co-operate. He wouldn’t even acknowledge his own lawyer, who did the best he could in impossible circumstances.
‘He talked to the jury directly and even had to be dragged out of the court once after he tried to tell jurors it should be a mistrial.
‘During the trial, I don’t think he even knew where he was.’