Steaks-for-crack trade-off turns fatal for one man

HUDSON — Two women handed over $117 worth of steaks for crack cocaine. Hours later, one woman's boyfriend suspected they got ripped off.

On Thursday night, William Gillespie says he and his older brother showed up at the dealer's home. They wanted more drugs or more money or, at least, the return of the meat.

A fight broke out. A lamp tipped over. A knife was drawn. Minutes later, Gerald Gillespie was in the backseat of the car. He was bleeding to death.

"He was incoherent, and he stopped breathing in my arms," said Samantha Lung, William's girlfriend. "He died in my arms."

Gerald Gillespie, 44, was pronounced dead at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, the Pasco Sheriff's Office said. Deputies got the call about 9:30 p.m. No arrests have been made.

Authorities have not revealed the cause of his death or any other information. But his brother and Lung provided their account of the Thursday night events leading to the death.

William Gillespie said his brother, who went by Gary, had tagged along to the dealer's home. A fight broke out between them and the dealer and a woman who stays there.

At some point, the physical fight ended, and the three men started arguing. But that is when things got worse, said William.

"I seen her pull back," he recalled of the woman. "She had a big old butcher knife, about 14 inches long. I seen about 4 inches of blood on it."

That's when Gerald turned to him, William said, and said, " 'I've been stabbed.' "

Gerald stumbled out to their car and lay across the backseat, gasping for air. The wounds were in his side. William said he drove them the short distance back to his own place, next door to his brother's mobile home.

Lung, the girlfriend, jumped in the backseat and tried to give CPR as they drove to the hospital. But it was too late.

Gerald was a handyman. He was known for his sense of humor and his loyalty. "He'd just make you laugh," said Lung. "He'd always cheer you up."

He was also an alcoholic and, like his brother, a drug addict. He had a lengthy criminal arrest record; the latest charges are from July 2007, for violations of probation on battery charges. William has a pending cocaine possession charge against him in Pasco County.

William, 43, sat underneath his carport Friday, looking across the yard at his brother's place at 8723 Padget St. He was born on his brother's first birthday. He likes to think of himself as his brother's gift.

But the brothers shared not only a birthday, but an addiction, he said, and what happened this week was inevitable.

"The way we were going, it was bound to happen," he said. "We're both users. But I'm done with this s--- now. Yes, I regret it. I loved him to death. I wish it was me."

Jodie Tillman can be reached at jtillman@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6247.

Steaks-for-crack trade-off turns fatal for one man 07/25/08 [Last modified: Monday, July 28, 2008 5:37pm]

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