News Item from the Amarillo Globe News:

Authorities confirmed today that Paul David Gillette, driving force behind the troubled Falcon Club housing development in Bushland, has been arrested on a charge of murder in the death of his wife.


Potter County deputies were called about 1 this morning about a woman being beaten. They were initially unable to find the woman at the address to which they responded, 2001 Las Tecovas, northwest of Amarillo. But after forcing entry inside a locked garage, deputies found the body of a woman inside a vehicle. The woman was later identified as Sherri Michelle Gillette, 44. Also found inside the garage by deputies was her husband, 47-year-old Paul Gillette, according to a news release issued by Amarillo police.

Gillette was taken into custody and transported to the Potter County jail.

Authorities said the couple lived on the property but in separate residences. While Sherri Gillette had filed for divorce from her husband in November in 320th District Court, it wasn’t immediately clear today whether the divorce had been finalized. Authorities today referred to the couple as husband and wife.

Officials today said there were indications that Sherri Gillette had been physically assaulted. Justice of the Peace Nancy Bosquez was called to the scene this morning and ordered that an autopsy be performed Monday in Lubbock.

Okay, lemme get the disclaimers out of the way (because we’re gonna need ’em).

The opinions in this post are my own. Herein lies opinions, conjecture, and emotion, mixed in with statements of fact. TTAG is not responsible for the opinions shared within. Having gotten that out of the way…

I know this prick. Very well, in fact. In 2002, I moved to Amarillo to try and rebuild a fractured marriage and to be near my daughter. I went to work for an ad agency and wrote TV spots for a chain of car dealerships. It’s how I came to know RF, through his former website.

Late that year, my wife and I purchased a home, and met an insurance agent to provide homeowners insurance. The agent was Paul Gillette. Paul was a good ol’ boy, and Okie, and was a glib salesman. He was starting up a new housing development, West of Amarillo. It was going to be part housing development/part amusement park/part shopping center. Pretty cool plans. He needed a creative guy for his logos and ads. I signed on as a freelancer.

Soon, he asked me to quit my job and start up an new ad agency, as my partner. I’d provide the talent, he’d provide the money. He seemed to be rolling in it – he always had a fat roll he’d carry with him. Nice home. New cars. Beautiful former beauty queen wife. A passal of kids. He claimed that he was making big bucks from Quixtar (the once and future “Amway”), and had big plans for Amarillo.

I bit. Quit my day job, and started the agency. My wife became his administrative assistant.

Within eight months, the dreams had all come crashing down. My wife discovered he was actually financially insolvent – constantly ducking creditors, including the contractors building his development. Nothing added up. Then he started stiffing me. I bailed. Took him to court to dissolve the partnership.

Short story: I won. I got the business asetts and said goodbye to Gillette & Company. But there’s more to the story. Along the way, he went to Federal prison. For skirting the banking laws. Turns out, one of the homes he built, he sold to a couple from Mexico that owned a trucking firm. They were trucking in bales of marijuana and essentially laundering the profits through Gillette. They were paying cash for a home worth at least a million dollars.

Gillette thought he could get around the cash deposit reporting regulations by making $9,500 deposits in several banks on the same day. Mmmm….not so much. He got caught and did three years in the Federal pen in El Paso.

There’s even more to the story, but it’s not germaine to the tragedy playing out even as we speak. Sherri, Paul’s wife, filed for divorce last year. No idea if it was final or not. Paul always struck me as someone who has a volatile personality. He had wrestled in college, and I’d seen him confront more than one person, when I wondered if he would come to blows.

When he went away, Sherri stuck by him, taking over the insurance agency to support their kids. Dunno why they split. I suspect, she might have finally realized that he’s a world-class liar.

Soon, I expect we’ll hear more about what went down last night. I’ve already heard some details – for instance that he beat Sherri, before he shot her. I’ve also heard a rumor that the sonofabitch shot her in front of the kids, then sat there and waited for the police while his children tried to revive her lifeless body.

This is the first time something like this has struck this close to home. Unlike the times where friends were murdered by muggers or died in robberies, this is my first, firsthand taste of domestic violence with guns. And it’s the first time I know all the participants on a first-name basis.

My heart goes out to those kids. If they did witness this crime, I can’t imagine what they feel, but I fear it will scar them forever. My prayers go out to Sherri and her family. We weren’t close, but I respected her for what she did to support her kids, and nobody deserves to be murdered in cold blood.

As far as domestic violence, gun ownership and all the things go that we normally cover here at TTAG, I don’t see that this changes anything. It certainly doesn’t change things with me.

My ex called me with the news. She still lives there in Amarillo. I told her, “We’re both lucky. When we got divorced, we just said ‘ok’ and went before the judge. We were both concealed handgun license holders and both carry pistols. But it never entered either of our minds to do the other harm.”

Of course, neither of us is prone to violence, domestic or otherwise. When some anti-gun activist tries to use incidents like this to illustrate the danger of guns in the home, I point out that this just as easily could have ended with a case of self-defense, as murder.

I’m not going to do a lot of speculation on this. I don’t have all the facts. If and when I do, I may write on this again. I dunno. I’m still kind of in shock about the whole thing.

If there’s any silver lining to this blackest of black clouds, it’s that Paul Gillette will either go to jail for the rest of his natural life, or be sentenced to death. And if there’s any justice in this world (and believe me, in Texas we take our justice seriously), Gillette will get what he deserves.

I’m sure the many families he destroyed with Ponzi scheme that was Falcon Club – the homeowners, the financiers, the contractors, and the employees – are all in shock right now. And I’m sure they are all thinking the same thing that I’m thinking.

We all knew he was a liar, a crook, and a scoundrel, but how did we miss the fact that he was going to murder someone?

13 Responses to This One Strikes Too Close to Home.

  1. Hey, Brad; Interesting you should chime in here. Funny thing, Paul Gillette once told me that you STOLE all the equipment and fled the office in the dark of night.

    No, the divorce was not final. Paul stalled the divorce to milk her for everything he could get. Sherri BEGGED the legal system to help protect her, but no one seemed to sense any urgency or determine that Paul was a threat to her.

    Other than that, your opinions, conjecture and emotions are not too far off base. Paul Gillette is an evil man.

  2. Roger:

    The Truth About Paul (and the partnership) was that he put up the money, but would never draft a partnership agreement. Everything we did was on a handshake and a promise…a promise he failed to keep. When he reneged on his promise to fund the company, I asked if I could buy him out, figuring that, with all the work the agency had done for his other companies, we had to be close to paying off his investment. Paul refused to let the accounting people (one of which was my then-wife) actually tally up what was owed by the other "Gillette Family Enterprise" companies. (Let the irony of that name sink in for a second.)

    Fortunately, I had a record of every hour I spent for every customer. When we tallied up what Gillette's other companies owed, it turned out we'd not only paid back the investment, but he owed the company over $60,000. According to our handshake agreement, that meant he owed me more than $20,000, assuming that I retained the hard assets of the company. I made him several offers. His answer to every one was, essentially "They're ALL my helicopters." He wanted the gear, the intellectual property, and ME to pay HIM for leaving the partnership. My attorney laughed at the guy. We opted to settle it in court. Then he was busted for the bank charges. While he was in jail, the case came to court. Sherri appeared on his behalf, but had no standing with the court, as she wasn't a partner in the firm. Not long after that, they settled, and gave me all the equipment plus a cash settlement. If I had "stollen the equipment and fled the office in the dark of night" I think Paul would have had a pretty strong criminal case against me. He didn't, because I did nothing wrong. I think subsequent events bear out the fact that Gillette is more than a just a liar, and the best way to tell he's lying is when his lips are moving.

    In many ways, this is a prime example not of the dangers of domestic violence, but of how the system simply doesn't work, and people like Sherri needed to be able to defend themselves, when the cops could do nothing. I've heard that this all happened in front of his kids. If for no other reason, Gillette should face the maximum punishment possible under the law.

    He's a murderer. A liar. And a destroyer of everything (and everyone) he touches. May he get what he deserves in this life and the next.

    By the way, I've heard tonight that there's a fund set up for the four kids with the Amarillo National Bank under the name Children of Sherri Gillette Education Fund. Spread the word. Those kids are gonna need all the help – and prayer – they can get.

    • you know what i see in all your comments, that u r enjoying it!!! u milk the cow too. you coud not wait to write about gillete family that you started talking about guns!!! what in the world have the gillette to do with this???? she was not killed with a gun, the bastard beat her up to death….

      now i see your motto.

  3. Brad, you probably don't remember me, but when you first started working for Paul I was his receptionist at the time. Hearing about Sherri and reading this made me remember working for that man. I remember specifically telling my mother when I first started working for him that there was something "off" about him and that he scared me in a way. I also remember the ROLLS of cash he would randomly pull out of his pocket or briefcase. It's a tragedy what has happened and I pray that justice is served. One day Paul Gillette will have to stand before God and beg for forgiveness. I pray that Sherri's family and her sweet children will find peace during this time.

  4. Megan, I do remember you. You know, the first time I met Paul, it was at the behest of Elizabeth, who told me that Paul needed a marketing guy for Falcon Club. When I came home after the meeting, I told her, "I can't get a read on the guy. Normally, I can get a feel for anyone I talk to, but he's just opaque. I can't understand what makes him tick. There's something that doesn't click." I've met a few people like that, people that I just couldn't read. Invariably, they turn out to be bad guys. Not necessarily murderers, but its as if when the sense I get of them doesn't match what they're saying, there's trouble afoot.

    I feel really sorry for those kids. It will be hard for them to deal with this for the rest of their lives. And I'm sure that her parents are beside themselves with grief. It's very sad. I don't understand people like Paul. And in a way, I'm glad I don't. I don't think I'd care to get inside the head of someone that can do the things he's done.

  5. Just a quick question for you … I may have missed it, but I didnt read anywhere that she was shot. Everything I have seen says she may have been beaten to death. Like I said, I may have missed it, if so I apologize. Please clarify.

    Thanks,

    just a concerned Amarillo citizen.

    • Stephanie:

      I made a lot of calls to friends in Amarillo, the minute I heard the news. The first reports I heard involved a shooting. As I pointed out in my follow-up article, early reports can oftentimes be misleading, inaccurate, or downright wrong. I think many people assume (largely because of how the press treats these things) that the default "weapon of choice" in a domestic abuse murder is a handgun. At least, that's the reason I think the people I spoke to said "shot" instead of the more generic "murder." The later reports say Paul beat Sherri to death. (As I type these words, I still can't believe it. I can believe Paul can be that violent…I just can't believe that Sherri's gone.)

      It's a sad fact of life, but until we get to the world of "Minority Report," where the government can predict crimes and arrest people for things they are going to do (even if they don't realize it themselves) bad things will happen. The only thing that I can think of that would have saved Sherri (even including a restraining order) would have been for her to have been armed. Even that's no guarantee, but I think she'd have had a better chance with a gun than without one.

  6. It has been many years, around 1995-1997, that I spent a tremendous amount of time in the company of Paul and Sherri, as part of their Amway downline. This man had spent time in my home, with my wife and children, and us in their home. In a way, Paul was the perfect person to be an Amway distributor. He could sell flip flops to Eskimos. Had a beautiful wife, beautiful kids, beautiful home, the whole thing.

    But, like what I came to realize about Amway, there was something "off" about Paul. He was so damned believable, and while he always stated the one truth about Amway (that anyone CAN get rich), what he never told you was that it's impossible for EVERYONE to get rich. If that makes us stupid, that it took a couple of years to figure it out, then well, I guess millions of others are stupid too…

    After a couple of years of working closely with him, we just never could shake the feeling that something about this guy just didn't add up, and we bailed out. When we heard that he was in federal prison, we weren't the least bit surprised. And even now, that he's been arrested for murder, I honestly wish I could say I'm shocked, but the truth is, I'm not.

    I can only imagine what Sherri's family is going through right now. I hope you will all join me in lifting this family in prayer.

    And as for you Paul, you picked the wrong state in which to commit murder. Texas has the death penalty, and it comes with an Express Lane. And, God bless 'em, they USE IT!

    • My ex and I were suckered into the Quixtar/Amway hustle, too. In fact, one of the many lies Paul told was that the big wad of bills he was perpetually flashing came from his Quixtar profits. We later discovered that the money in fact came from the cash paid by the Rios family (the ones that got sent away for importing bales of marijuana from Mexico via their trucking company) for the huge McMansion they had Paul build for them out at Falcon Club. I don’t know how much they made on their Amway MLM thing. But I do know that Paul was hustling people not only in his “downline” but up and down the Amway food chain. I doubt he ever approached any relationship, business, personal or otherwise, without looking at it from a “what kind of deal can I work on them” point of view.

      I spoke to the Amarillo P.D., The Potter County Sheriff’s office, the D.A.’s office, and the Special Crimes unit. They each assured me that Gillette has spent his last day on this Earth as a free man. Justice will be served. Sad that it took him murdering his wife in order to see that happen.

    • That’s the first I’ve heard of this. Where did you get your information? This morning’s Globe News states that she was beaten, and her body discovered on the floorboard of the back seat of her GMC Yukon, with Gillette sitting in the dark, inside the garage. Apparently, she was on the phone with a friend when she was attacked, and the friend could hear the assault taking place over Sherri’s cell phone. I’m not doubting nor debating your statement, but if he was trying to force her into making her own death look like suicide, I would think Paul would have realized that the cell phone, the evidence of physical assault on Sherri, and where the body was discovered would blow some rather large holes in his claims.

      Of course, nobody’s ever confused Paul Gillette with a rocket scientist either.

  7. has anyone heard any updates as to where Paul is at and what action has been taken, if any, or when will anything be done with him?

  8. We were also apart of the Gillette’s downline and I was a nanny for the oldest 2 Gillette kids from the time they came home from the hospital until they were about 4. I was well aware of Paul’s temper and his way of making Sherri be what he wanted her to be rather than the bright cheery talkative person she blessed this world with. I am still in shock. Has he gone to trial yet? I’m still in touch with the older kids but this is not something we talk about. I can say Paul did 4 things right in his life, those kids are it. Sherri is very missed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *