November 15, 1984
Sixteen-year-old Jody Gilley testified today that hours before the deaths of her parents, her brother Billy Gilley Jr. said he would "like to bash (their mother's) head in."
Jody said that after the April 27 baseball bat bludgeonings of her mother, father and youngest sister, Gilley told her that he felt like the killer in the horror movie "Friday the 13th" — "only it was messier than he thought it would be."
Jody took the stand late this morning in the second day of the aggravated murder trial of Gilley, 19, in the deaths of Billy Frank Gilley Sr., 40, Linda Louise Gilley, 37, and Becky Jean Gilley, 11.
Court-appointed defense attorney Steven Pickens Wednesday said he was waiting to how the prosecution presented its case before deciding whether to have Gilley testify.
Pickens said at the start of the trial that he planned to call no witnesses.
This morning, Gilley sat calmly beside Pickens. He shook his head a few times, as if in disagreement as his sister told the six-man, six-woman jury of the events that preceded and followed the slayings.
She said she and a girlfriend had skipped school April 26, and her mother scolded her when she got home. It was after that initial scolding in the front yard of the family's North Ross Lane home that Gilley mentioned bashing his mother's head in, Jody testified.
Later, after Mrs. Gilley slapped Jody for sassing her, Jody and Gilley talked about parental punishment, she said. Jody thought her older brother had been treated more fairly when he was her age, but Gilley disagreed, telling her how he had been tied to a tractor in the barn and beaten with a garden hose by their father, Jody said.
The family that night attended a school play in which the third victim Becky Jean Gilley, 11, participated, and afterward Jody went upstairs to bed, and the rest of the family was downstairs watching television, Jody testified.
Then, at about 1 a.m. on April 27, Jody said, Gilley and Becky came into her room, and Billy told them to stay there. Jody said she was groggy and disoriented and didn't know what was happening. She said she watched Gilley go downstairs, with Becky following.
"I heard her (Becky) scream, and a pounding noise, and then she stopped screaming," Jody said. "Then Billy came back upstairs with blood all over him."
Jody quoted Gilley as saying that he was "sorry for killing Becky" and that "now we were free."
Jody said her brother compared the experience with the film "Friday the 13th," in which several people at a camp were slain by a vengeful killer, but that it was "messier that he'd thought it would be."
Jody said Gilley washed, took money from his dead parents' purse and wallet, and gave Jody $100, suggesting that they "go out."
Jody said she went along with Gilley's idea to go out, and she suggested they go to a friend's house a few blocks away. She said she hoped to call the police from there.
She and Gilley went to the friend's house, and played cards until Gilley left. Jody said she assumed that he was going to get some cigarettes.
After Gilley was out of the house, Jody said, she told her friend, and later her friend's parents, about what had happened.
The trial before Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Mitchell Karaman began after jury selection concluded Wednesday afternoon. District Attorney Justin Smith, in his opening statement to jurors, laid out essentially the same information to which Jody and several Oregon State Police and medical witnesses testified Wednesday afternoon and this morning.
After Jody called 911 from the friend's house, she told the dispatcher she believed her brother killed her mother, father and sister. According to testimony from OSP troopers, the surrounded the house and ordered the occupant, Billy, outside, where troopers cuffed him and put him in the back of a patrol car.
Several witnesses said OSP Detective Dick Davis arrived a few minutes later, and he and trooper Larry Rupp found the bodies of Billy Frank Gilley Sr. and Linda Louise Gilley. Beck Gilley was found alive on the living room floor and rushed to a local hospital, where she died of massive head injuries about a day later.
Defense attorney Pickens so far has presented virtually no defense, apparently his client's request.
He has passed up his opportunities to cross-examine virtually all of Smith's prosecution witnesses, such as the OSP troopers who arrested Gilley and who found the bodies, medical examiners who testified that Mr. and Mrs. Gilley died of repeated blows to the head with a blunt object, and Dr. Larry Lewman, a Portland pathologist who performed autopsies on Mr. and Mrs. Gilley.