In a verdict announced by Ellis County and District Attorney Ann Montgomery, Chad Gillen, 37, of Waxahachie, Texas, has been convicted of murder and sentenced to 70 years in prison.
The case revolved around the tragic circumstances of Karen Gillen, who suffered a stroke in 2010, leaving her disabled. As a widow, her son, Chad Gillen, took on the responsibility of her care. During the Covid shutdown in 2020, Karen ceased her public activities, and it appeared that only her son had contact with her for six months.
On September 23, 2020, Chad Gillen brought his deceased mother to the Baylor Scott and White emergency room in Waxahachie, reporting that he had heard her fall. Medical professionals, however, found fractures, skin tears, and bruises on Karen's body, prompting suspicion. An autopsy revealed severe injuries, including an acute traumatic brain injury, a traumatic injury to her stomach, a broken right humerus, and 21 rib fractures at various stages of healing.
Police investigations suggested that Gillen had neglected and physically abused his mother for an extended period. In a subsequent interview, he admitted to frustration over her refusal to eat, confessing to punching her in the stomach. Gillen had a history of violence, having been placed on deferred adjudication in 2012 for assaulting his mother.
After a four-day trial, an Ellis County jury convicted Chad Gillen of murder, and Judge Cindy Ermatinger of the 443rd Judicial Court presided over the case. Montgomery expressed the challenges posed by the Covid-related isolation of vulnerable citizens, noting a nationwide increase in crimes against children, the elderly, and domestic violence. She commended the jury for their verdict in what she acknowledged as a difficult case.
Assistant County and District Attorneys Sherry Roeder and Jeff Bullock prosecuted the case, with the assistance of County and District Attorney Investigator Todd Woodruff. The Waxahachie Police Department conducted the investigation.