It took 10 tries, but judge finally sentences Utah woman for seeking a hitman to kill her ex-husband

| courtesy of Unified Police Department Linda Gillman

A Utah woman who tried to hire a hitman to kill her ex-husband was sentenced to prison on Monday — despite her last-ditch efforts to again delay the outcome.

Linda Gillman, 70, was found guilty eight months ago of first-degree felony criminal solicitation, and a jury acquitted her of a second count alleging she tried to have the ex-husband’s wife killed.

Since then, nine sentencing dates have come and gone before a judge on Monday during her 10th sentencing date finally handed down a three-year-to-life sentence for the crime.

Other court dates have been canceled or delayed for various reasons — including that Gillman refused to come to court, she fired her attorney, then her new attorney wasn’t prepared in time. A recent delay was because Gillman fell and hit her head while she was at the Salt Lake County jail.

Gillman had asked 3rd District Judge Paul Parker again to delay Monday’s sentencing, saying she wanted to fire her new attorney — the fourth she’s fired since she was charged in 2017 — and said she didn’t believe Parker could be fair to her.

“At no point in the progress of this litigation has the truth come out,” she said. “I’m on my fourth attorney and the truth still isn’t out. And I think the prosecutors know what the truth is.”

As she sat in a wheelchair, her hands shackled together, Gillman told the judge that the man she hired to get a hit man was manipulating and blackmailing her.

She offered no apology Monday, instead spending about 10 minutes talking about each attorney she has hired and fired since she was charged.

“All I have expected and all I have wanted is the truth to come out,” she said. “And it still hasn’t.”

Prosecutor Mark Mathis had argued that nothing less than a prison sentence would be appropriate for Gillman, saying human life meant nothing to her.

“Ms. Gillman is cold,” he said. “She is calculating. And she only exists to serve her own interest.”

For Gillman’s ex-husband, Duane Gillman, and his wife, Lynda Faldmo, the woman’s sentencing provided some closure after months of delays.

“The delays have been an absolute nightmare for us,” Faldmo told the judge. “I think it’s time that this sociopath is held accountable and not allowed to play any more games with the court.”

Duane Gillman was emotional throughout the sentencing, dabbing tears from his eyes as prosecutors played recordings of Linda Gillman negotiating a deal for his death.

He left the courthouse Monday without commenting to reporters. His attorney, Richard Van Wagoner, said that the couple was “just glad it’s over.”

Prosecutors alleged at trial that Gillman hired Christian Olsen, a man who had been working on her condominium, to help her find a hitman to take out her former husband and his new wife.

Gillman was a beneficiary on three life insurance policies taken out on her ex-husband, Duane Gillman. Due to her husband’s health and age, the premiums kept rising — and she was paying out a lot of money. She wanted him dead, prosecutors alleged, to collect the insurance money.

At one point while discussing the planned killings, Olsen secretly recorded Gillman pondering the chances of pulling off the scheme.

“I don’t know how easy it is to get away with this stuff,” she said. “I just don’t know.”

Olsen testified at trial that he thought at first the woman was joking about hiring a hitman. But after she kept bringing it up, he realized it wasn’t a joke.

Then Linda Gillman wrote him a $5,000 check, he testified, and told him to find a hitman. He kept the money — but didn’t try to hire anyone.

After a few months, prosecutors said, she became impatient and told Olsen she would try to find someone else to do the job.

Worried that a murder might take place, Olsen went to the ex-husband’s home and informed him and his new wife of the plan. The three went to police.

Since Linda Gillman was arrested and charged in January 2017, prosecutors say she’s continued to try to arrange planned killings from behind bars. Twice she tried to hire other inmates to kill Olsen, according to charges, and she also tried to hire someone to kill the lawyer for an electric company that did work on her condo and was suing her over an unpaid debt of just over $1,800.

On Monday, Parker asked her twice what her pleas were to more charges prosecutors have heaped on in connection with those allegations. Linda Gillman twice responded, “We haven’t had a preliminary hearing,” — an evidence hearing that she had previously waived. The judge entered not-guilty pleas on her behalf.

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