In 2009, a 30 year-old man named Ezekiel Gilbert paid a 23-year-old Craigslist escort named Lenora Ivie Frago to have sex with him. When she refused – in fact, the escort service she worked for did not provide customers with sex – and left with the $150 that was agreed upon, Gilbert shot Frago in the neck. The young girl was left paralyzed in the hospital for seven months until she died from the complications of her injury.
In an ideal world where people go to jail for killing innocent people, Gilbert would have faced life in prison for second-degree murder. However, since this happened in Texas, that wasn’t the case. This last Wednesday, Gilbert was acquitted because of a law unique to Texas that allows its people to use a deadly force to recover stolen property at night. Since it was nighttime and Frago technically took the $150 from Gilbert after refusing to provide him what he believed to be a service, Gilbert technically “used a deadly force” to try and get his money back.
I have nothing against Texas. I also have nothing against the right to bear arms and the American freedom we have to protect ourselves. But to shoot a woman for taking money from you after she decides against paid sex is taking things a step too far and really makes one question our legal system and its terrible technicalities. Gilbert physically paid Frago for her time; should this “technically” count as “theft”? So if a kid walks by my property and plucks a few flowers from my yard, I have every single right to shoot him in the head because technically the kid stole my flowers?
Gilbert’s defense team justified his terrible actions by claiming that the “prostitution” was really a scam. And let’s go with that. Let’s say it was a scam to steal $150 from a man who was willing to pay for sex via Craigslist. Does that really make it okay to shoot someone in the neck? I might understand if the young girl was about to steal his identity, family, and bank account, but this guy killed a woman over $150.
But okay. Let’s step back and look at the bigger picture. Because this is really just an old story being told again and again in a different accent. Our judicial system is messed up. We have absolutely no grasp on gun control. Kids are dying left and right because their parents forget to lock the gun cabinets, teenagers are shooting up their schools because they’re mentally ill and angry, guns and other weapons are perpetually glorified in the media and a man deemed it justifiable to shoot an escort because she took his money. It’s all so careless. But it’s arguably rooted in our violent and gutsy American culture to turn to guns when things piss or scare us off, and that’s why Ezekiel Gilbert is not going to jail.
Featured image via Vanity Fair