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Fort Worth police: Sex offender killed homeless man to fake own death

Posted in Related Deaths
4-7-2011 Texas:

Police say a Fort Worth man attempted to fake his own death by murdering a homeless man, throwing his body into the trunk of his car and then setting the vehicle on fire.

It's the latest chapter in the life of career criminal Michael A. Gilbert, police said.

Investigators said they have linked 44-year-old Gilbert to the burned body found in the trunk of a car in the early morning hours on March 30.

Fort Worth police said this is the first case they have investigated in which someone faked their own death. But, they said it is apparently not the first time Gilbert tried to convince people he was dead.

The Department of Corrections said Gilbert has been in and out of prison since 1987. Convicted of raping a 12-year-old girl, he went back to prison four times for parole violations.

One man said Gilbert is now accused of raping his 16-year-old sister in March.

"I never liked him, and he told my sister that he wanted to kill her boyfriend," the brother said.

Fort Worth police say days after the alleged rape, they found Gilbert's burning car in Eugene McCray Park near Lake Arlington. Firefighters found a body in the trunk, but the victim didn't match Gilbert's dental records.

"We believe at this time it is possibly a homeless person from the Fort Worth area," said Sgt. Cheryl Johnson. "We are trying for sure to confirm the identity."

Police said Gilbert also tried to fake his death in Mississippi in 2002 when he violated parole. In that case, he told police he was a cousin who watched Gilbert drown in the Gulf. Biloxi police soon learned his real identity and sent him back to Texas to serve another 10 months in prison.

This week, detectives investigating the most recent alleged rape tracked down Gilbert to the West Chase Apartments. After a seven-hour standoff, SWAT officers launched tear gas canisters into an upstairs unit and found him hiding in the attic.

The brother of the most recent alleged rape victim said his sister is still recovering from the incident.

"I wouldn't put it past him," he said of whether he believes Gilbert attempted to fake his own death through murder. "He's a smart man, so yea."

Police said Gilbert tried to cut his own neck when the SWAT team showed up. At last check, he was in the hospital recovering before he is taken to jail. ..Source.. by WFAA

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