A disabled woman incapable of lifting her arm is found dead from a gunshot wound to the neck. Somehow it is labeled a suicide even though she lacked the tendons and muscle tissue after having a tumor removed years earlier. The victim’s medical records and the subsequent autopsy report was reviewed by a renown forensic pathologist. After reviewing the records, he claims the death of Janice Wilhelm warrants further investigation. Janice Wilhelm could not have shot herself. Why won’t the authorities reopen the case then? Your guess is as good as mine. Read on to find out more about this startling case.
December 8, 2010:
911 dispatch received a call from Gerald Willhelm of Centerville, Texas. The strangely calm husband reported his wife had shot herself. He claimed they were asleep in their recliners and at some point, she woke up and shot herself in the neck. Officer Grimes of the Leon County Sheriff’s Department arrived on-site twenty-two minutes later to find the first responders and strangely a county judge.
The .45 caliber bullet traveled into the neck at a downward trajectory, passing through the lungs, and immediately severing the spinal cord through the 7th vertebrae. This would cause instant paralysis, so why do the crime scene photos show Mrs. Willhelm’s hands neatly tucked under her lap blanket? Where did the gun land? Six feet away the gun was laying on the floor pointing away from her chair. The spent casing landed behind the sofa.
If Janice was a physically capable woman, she would have to hold the gun upside down, press it to her neck with her elbow wrenched out above her head. This might be possible IF you omit one very important fact. Janice Willhelm had a tumor on her left arm the size of an orange removed. This surgery took much of her muscle tissue and damaged the nerves in her arm making it impossible for her to hold her arm above her chest, much less over her head. This is not merely conjectured on the part of grieving family members. This fact is corroborated by medical documentation.
Gerald Willhelm claimed his wife was out of pain meds and killed herself because they couldn’t afford to get more. Crime scene photos show her medications were clearly sitting within arms reach of the deceased. To further dispel this accusation, UPS had recently billed the couple for their prescription delivery service. She was on disability and this covered most of her medications and she had worked out a co-pay deal with the drug companies for the remainder of the fees. Janice Willhelm was not out of pain medication and if anyone doubts this, they can refer to the toxicology reports that clearly show medications in her system at the time of death.
Below are two pictures of the crime scene. The only changes that were made to these photos are the addition of the blacked-out portions hiding the graphic details of the deceased’s wounds.
Notice the following:
- The gun is laying 6 – 8 feet away from the deceased. If this had been a suicide, then the weapon would have fallen directly beside the chair, not six feet away in front of the couch.
- The shell casing is found several feet away behind the couch. Again, this wouldn’t be the case in a suicide. The casing would have landed in the chair or amongst the blankets.
- It has been reported that the blood under the recliner was already coagulated. Why? If this happened as Gerald claimed, then the police arrived 12 – 15 minutes later then there is no way that blood would be in such a state.
- A gunshot residue test was done on Janice Wilhelm’s hands but was somehow lost in transit between the Dallas Medical Examiner’s office and the Leon County Sherriff’s office.
Gerald claims in the 911 call that Jan killed herself because she was out of pain medication and they couldn’t afford more. This was proven false. The crime scene photos clearly showed Janice’s medication sitting on the table beside her chair, and the toxicology reports state she had pain meds in her system at the time of her death. Also, the children were able to prove that not only were Janice’s medicines mostly covered by Medicare, and the small remainder only amounted to a $5/month copayment.
The report states that Janice left a suicide note. It was later determined that the so-called note was nothing more than a diary of her symptoms and the medications she had taken. These standard nursing notes were what they claimed to be a suicide note.
Janice Wilhelm was admitted to the Baylor Richardson Medical Center surgery. A large tumor measuring 4″ x 4 3/4″ x 3″ was removed from the upper portion of her left arm leaving the muscular tissue and tendons severely damaged. This surgery saved her life but left her dominant arm nearly useless. Janice would no longer be able to lift her arm above her chest.
Vincent J.M. Di Maio, M.D. a forensic pathologist out of Dallas, reviewed Janice Wilhelm’s medical records and determined that it would be impossible for her to have committed suicide in such a manner.
The family waited for word of a will but were repeatedly told that Janice didn’t leave one. Then, suddenly within a couple of months of her death, Janice’s will was quietly pushed through probate court.
After fighting to get a copy of her mother’s will, Janice’s daughter was surprised at the supposed signature of her mother. It wasn’t even close to her mother’s signature, and yet there it was, and two people had witnessed it.
Finally, it was determined that both so-called witnesses had not seen Janice sign the documents at all. They were pre-signed before being presented for a witness signature.
Why would anyone want seven acres of farmland in this area? Oil
Despite the will being a blatant forgery and the lawsuits pending, Gerald Wilhelm signed off, and the oil companies came in. An oil well and a gas well were fully functioning within a year of Janice Wilhelm’s death. The Clayton #1H well generated $400,000 worth of royalties within the first eight months of its existence. Can we say motive?
Cold Case did a segment on this case in 2010, and Gerald Wilhelm actually agreed to an interview but refused to let it be recorded because of the pending lawsuits. Strangely, he was dead within a week after the show aired. He supposedly died of a heart attack, but there was no autopsy, and he was cremated before anyone could request one.
I wish I could say that was the end, but there are a few more twists in this homicidal tale. I will leave you with one question.
Who owns that land and oil wells now?
I will give you a hint. It’s a toss-up between a blond banker, a ranch hand, and a false witness. Mix that with a possible extramarital affair, a vindictive family member, and big oil, and you will find the truth hiding in there somewhere.
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