Family rallies behind woman accused of killing terminally ill husband at Daytona Beach hospital

Ellen Gilland, 76, was brought into courtroom 6 at the S. James Foxman Justice Center in a wheelchair. She was handcuffed and wearing an orange jumpsuit.

"Her whole family is supporting and loving, and it’s a wide circle," said Gilland’s niece Kathleen Sullivan-Cockrel.

Two of Gilland’s nieces spoke on her behalf in hopes of getting her out of jail on bond. They described the retired special education teacher’s relationship with her husband Jerry, 77, as loving and supportive.

The high school sweethearts were married for 37 years. Recently Jerry’s health declined and was admitted to AdventHealth in Daytona Beach with a terminal illness.

"Jerry’s brother Sam Gilland also of New Smyrna wanted to make sure that today that Ellen knows how much he loves her and supports her and holds no animosity," said Sullivan-Cockrel.

Gilland is accused of having planned a murder-suicide attempt with her husband Jerry. An investigator says, on January 21st, Gilland brought 50 rounds of ammunition with her to Jerry’s hospital room. 

Police say the two had planned for Jerry to be the shooter but he was too weak to pull the trigger.

"She was the one who held the gun to his head while he held onto her wrist," said the investigator on the stand.

The shooting prompted a lockdown at AdventHealth and a three-hour standoff with police that ended when officers entered the room using a flashbang.

"Right after that is when the defendant grabbed onto the gun, which was on the bed, raised it up, pointed it at law enforcement, and fired one round off," said the investigator.

Gilland’s attorneys argued that she has changed since that day and no longer possess a threat to herself or anyone else.

Although, the judge overseeing the case felt that Gilland’s admittance to the crime and her actions still prove the presumption of premeditated murder which means no bond.

"The law in the state of Florida does not allow for a mercy killing," said the Judge. "I don’t get to question the law. I don’t get to apply in my own special way. I have to follow the law. That’s what I do and under Florida law that is premeditated murder."

The judge also noted that the crime was committed in a very public place that put many others at risk.

As Gilland was taken out of the room her family shouted to her, "we love you."