Convicted killer defiant in face of 2 life terms: 'This is not a murder case'

Convicted killer defiant in face of 2 life terms: 'This is not a murder case' »Play Video
Johan Gillette addresses the court March 25, 2014, before being sentenced to 2 consecutive life terms for the murders of his father and his father's girlfriend.

EUGENE, Ore. - Convicted double murderer Johan Gillette will serve two consecutive life sentences in prison under an agreement negotiated by prosecutors and the defense.

Gillette could have faced the death penalty for slaying his father and father's girlfriend.

By signing the agreement, Gillette waived some of his appeal rights but avoided the death penalty.

The convicted killer, who had claimed self-defense, remained unrepentant.

“This is not a murder case," Gillette told the court. “The only tragedy in my opinion is Anne McLucas. I did this agreement for others, not myself.”

Gillette's brother James, named for their father, said the family urged Johan to take the deal to avoid the death penalty.

The younger brother, who had testified about his father's abusive nature at Johan's trial, was critical of the court proceedings and the jury.

"We have added an injustice to the end of this tragedy and I will not be able to find any peace or closure in this," James Gillette Jr said. "Justice has not been served. I hope to someday that can change.

“I know it was a root explosion by my father that started violence. I have no doubt in my mind," the brother added. "Murder is a criminal charge, that’s its intent. That is alien to core of my brother’s nature.”

The family of Anne McLucas also addressed the court. Johan Gillette sat motionless and avoided eye contact during their comments.

“Johan, you murdered my mother, beat her, left her on the floor to die,” said Jacob Shapiro, son of Anne McLucas. “She was just caught up in a father-son argument.”

McLucas's sister Caye Duhgeer called the loss "wrenchingly painful."

But she added that she, like her late sister, "do not agree with the death penalty.”

McLucas's cousin, Rev. David Maynard, urged the people involved to seek peace.

“I can forgive Johan Gillette,” he told the court. "I wish everyone understanding, acceptance and peace.”

In his comments to the court, however, Gillette said he wouldn't accept the court's verdict and sentence.

“I believe I will get a new trial in the future, and I know that will happen," he said. “If you have any questions, you know where I’ll be."

This is a developing story. Watch #LiveOnKVAL for more on this story

A jury last week found Gillette guilty of murdering his 73-year-old father James Gillette and his father's 71-year-old girlfriend Anne McLucas on the property where they all lived south of Eugene in September 2012.

The jury of 8 women and 4 men heard closing arguments March 17 and started deliberating March 18. They returned guilty verdicts on both counts of aggravated murder the next day.

Johan Gillette claimed self-defense, even taking the stand to describe the fight between himself and his father that ended in the deaths.

The son claimed his father had threaten to kill him and was reaching for a gun.

"This is a powerful handgun," defense attorney Dan Koening said. "How many blows do you think it would take to defend yourself if someone had this pistol and was trying to shoot you with it?"

Koening told jurors to consider the defendant's lack of intent on the morning of September 7, 2012.

"There is no intent here," he said. "Johan did not get up that morning intending to kill anyone."

Prosecutors had focused on evidence that the victims were brutally beaten, even once they were on the ground.

"Thirteen of those fractured bones, and most of them fractured bone a lot," prosecutor Stephen Morgan told the jury. "You can use all the technical terms you want, but he put holes in their heads."

Neighbors discovered the bodies on James Gillette's acreage south of Eugene on Sept. 7, 2012.

One of the people was dead, the other still clinging to life.

Sheriff's deputies shared little information the next morning.

"At this time we have no reason to believe that there is any additional threat to the public based on this incident," Detective Sgt. Cliff Harrold said, "but we are going to be out here for a little while still checking and making sure we are doing a good thorough job on this."

It wasn't reported at the time, but arrest reports later revealed a man was found bludgeoned to death in a home and a woman was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

She later died from her injuries: blunt force to the head.

Deputies remained tight-lipped as they took a man into custody.

Law enfocement scoured some 650 acres of property, the scene of past controversy in Lane County.

Neighbors said the owner - 73-year-old James Gillette - was widely known for his conflicts over land use with government officials.

At the time, the public wasn't aware that it was Gillete and his 71-year-old longtime domestic partner, University of Oregon music dean emeritus Anne McLucas (at right), who had been killed.

Gillette's well-known dealings with government quickly took a back seat to an outpouring of grief for McLucas.

The news was even harder for loved ones to hear when the murder suspect's name was reported: Johan Gillette, the victim's son who lived in another home on the property his father owned.

A sworn affidavit filed in court by detectives painted a gruesome picture of their deaths.

According to the affidavit, Johan's girlfriend Asia Seaton - who was also living on the property with the Gillettes - told investigators she loved her boyfriend but could not lie for him. She said Johan admitted to her his involvement in the killings.

On the stand more than a year-and-a-half later, Seaton said she was coerced into making those statements. She claimed investigators told her she could see McLucas in the hospital if she did so.

She never saw her friend again.

The case of State of Oregon vs. Johan Gillette began in February 2014 with the death penalty on the table.

In the weeks that would follow, the prosecution would hammer away at Johan's claims of self-defense with physical evidence.

A blood spatter expert theorized the victims were hit several times on the ground.

Clothing, with bleach stains, was also introduced as evidence that seemed to indicate Johan tried to cover up his involvement by cleaning up after the murders.

Johan's defense team painted a much different picture.

One after the other, character witnesses described Johan as a gentle, loving person incapable of the kind of crime he was accused of committing.

His own brother - named after their father - even took the stand, going as far as painting the elder Gillette as the villian.

Then Johan took the stand in his own defense.

He told jurors his father had threatened to kick him and Asia off the property, and that a verbal fight escalated.

He said his father went for a gun as he threatened to kill Johan and his girlfriend. He told the jury he had no choice but to fight back.

"I'm using my left hand to keep him from getting the gun with his right and I'm just trying to punch him with my right hand," he told the court.

As for McLucas, Johan said he thought the person jumping on his back was one of his dad's friends.

"I was completely focused on my dad and more so on the gun," he told the court. "The only time I remember hitting the other person was when they were on my back or coming towards me."

When asked about allegedly covering up the crime scene, Johan said his memory had gone blank.