Now, nearly two-and-a-half years later, the police say the daughter is to be blamed for his gruesome death.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that they have arrested Shannon Gillespie, 46, at her apartment in St. Petersburg, Fla., in the death of her 71-year-old father. Shannon Gillespie, a mother of four, has been charged with first-degree murder, police said.
Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told the Tampa Bay Times that there is “abundant” evidence, including physical evidence, lab tests and witness statement that point to Shannon Gillespie as the one responsible for her father’s death.
Efforts to reach Shannon Gillespie, who has denied the allegations, were unsuccessful.
According to local media, the father and daughter had been involved in a court dispute over the family’s living situation and homeownership, including mutual domestic violence injunctions that were filed by the pair in the summer of 2018.
Daniel Gillespie had taken possession of the home on Meadow Dale Drive following his wife’s death. The younger Gillespie, along with three other siblings, believed she was entitled to a remaining interest in the home, according to the news website IONTB (Eye on Tampa Bay).
Although Daniel Gillespie initially wanted his daughter and her three children to live there, the living situation grew so tenuous that he wanted them out.
When she refused to leave, he took the matter to court. In his petition to a judge, Daniel Gillespie accused his daughter of spending more than $1,000 at Home Depot and stealing his mail and bills, the Times reported.
“She constantly brings up my past, called me a pervert and spit in my face,” he wrote. “Even though my daughter is small, I’m scared of her because of her temper.”
On Oct. 30, 2018, a judge sided with Daniel Gillespie, and ordered his daughter out.
But after Shannon Gillespie had been evicted from the home, she “returned to the home stealthily during the night” of Nov. 15, 2018, according to the Times. She “hid and waited for the opportunity to surprise” her father, according to police.
Then, Gualtieri said, she used a knife and baseball bat to end her father’s life. Afterward, Shannon Gillespie reportedly instructed her son to report his grandfather’s death to authorities.
When Pinellas County deputies responded to a report of a deceased person, Daniel Gillespie was found inside his home and was pronounced dead at the scene. Detectives later confirmed that he had died of unnatural causes. An autopsy concluded that he died due to “blunt and sharp injuries,” which turned it into a homicide case, according to the police.
While Shannon Gillespie has denied responsibility for her father’s death, she allegedly told investigators that if she had killed her dad, he “would have swum with the fishes.”
After his death, the three other children moved to sell the house, which Shannon Gillespie fought in court, the Tampa Bay Times reported. But shortly after it was sold to an investor, the house went up in flames. Police said the incident also remains under investigation.
During the arrest Friday morning, Shannon Gillespie was also charged with battery after she got into an altercation with another woman on the scene, the police said. She was then transported to the Pinellas Country Jail, where she is being held without bail.