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Jess James GILLIES

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Kidnapping - Rape - Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: January 29, 1981
Date of birth: October 18, 1960
Victim profile: Suzanne Rossetti (female, 26)
Method of murder: Bashing her head with rocks
Location: Maricopa County, Arizona, USA
Status: Executed by lethal injection in Arizona on January 13, 1999
 
 
 
 
 
 

On January 29, 1981, Suzanne Rossetti locked herself out of her car at a Phoenix convenience store. Gillies and Mike Logan helped her get into her car. To show her gratitude, Ms. Rossetti bought the men a six-pack of beer and offered them a ride to a riding stable where Gillies worked.

En route, one of the men grabbed Rossetti, stopped the car, and pulled her to the ground where they both raped her. Gillies and Logan drove Rossetti to Papago Park and then to her apartment, raping her at both locations.

The men rifled her purse and scavenged her apartment for valuables. The attackers ultimately took Ms. Rossetti to the Superstitions where she was pushed from a cliff, tumbling 40 feet down the rocky hillside.

Gillies and Logan pursued their victim down the hill and found her still alive. Rossetti begged for mercy, told the men she was going to die anyway, and asked them to let her die in peace.

According to Gillies, Logan responded: "That's right, bitch, you are." According to Logan, Gillies began calling the victim a whore and a bitch. The victim was then bashed on the head with rocks until she lost consciousness. Gillies and Logan covered her with rocks and drove back to Phoenix in her car.

Logan pled guilty to first-degree murder in exchange for a life sentence.

PROCEEDINGS

Presiding Judge: Stephen H. Scott
Prosecutor:  Jeffrey A. Hotham
Start of Trial:  August 20, 1981
Verdict:  August 27, 1981
Sentencing:  September 28, 1981
Resentencing: June 30, 1983

Aggravating Circumstances

    Prior conviction involving violence (struck on appeal)
    Pecuniary gain (struck on appeal)
    Especially heinous/cruel/depraved

    Committed offense while in custody (struck on appeal)

Mitigating Circumstances

    None sufficient to call for leniency

PUBLISHED OPINIONS

State v. Gillies, 135 Ariz. 500, 662 P.2d 1007 (1983).
State v. Gillies, 142 Ariz. 564, 691 P.2d 1059 (1984).

 
 

Last Meal

New York steak cooked rare, 1 cups of sliced mushrooms, 2 eggs, 10 strips of bacon, 2 slices wheat toast w/butter, 3 tablespoons strawberry preserves, 8 ounces milk, 8 ounces apple juice, 32 ounces chocolate milkshake.

 
 

Arizona Executes Man For '81 Rape and Murder

The New York Times

January 14, 1999

A man convicted of kidnapping, raping and killing a woman in 1981 by pushing her off a cliff and then bashing her head with rocks was executed by injection today.

The man, Jess James Gillies, 38, and a friend, Mike Logan, were convicted of abducting, raping and murdering Suzanne Rossetti, 26.

Ms. Rossetti had bought them a six-pack of beer and given them a ride as a reward for opening her car after she locked the keys inside.

The authorities said Ms. Rossetti had been thrown off a 40-foot cliff but did not die immediately. Prosecutors said she begged for mercy before the men stoned her and buried her under boulders and rocks. A coroner's report said she was probably still alive when she was buried.

Mr. Logan, now 45, cooperated with prosecutors and was sentenced to life in prison with a chance for parole after 25 years.

 
 

Jess James GILLIES

On January 29, 1981, Suzanne Rossetti locked herself out of her car at a Phoenix convenience store. Jess James Gillies and Mike Logan helped her get into her car. 

To show her gratitude, Ms. Rossetti bought the men a six-pack of beer and offered them a ride to a riding stable where Gillies worked. 

The two men forced her to drive to a secluded area where both men raped her. Then they tied her up, put her in the back of the car and forced her to direct them to her Scottsdale apartment. 

They raped her again at her apartment. Then they put her back in the car and drove to the Superstition Mountains. 

Eight hours after the horror began, the men led Rossetti to the edge of a cliff and told her to jump.  She refused.  Gillies punched her; Logan kicked her over the edge. 

The two men climbed down and found Rossetti still alive. She pleaded for mercy, court records say. "Leave me alone, I'm going to die anyway," she told her tormentors. They didn't.  At least one of them -- each man later blamed the other -- beat her repeatedly over the head with a rock. 

They buried her beneath a heap of rocks and dirt. Later, the coroner said Rossetti probably was still alive when she was buried. 

Gillies began talking to friends about the killing and drove Rossetti's car for a couple days. He and Logan were arrested after someone contacted police. 

When homicide Detective Jack Hackworth told Gillies he could face execution, Gillies said, "All that, for killing that (expletive)?" court records show. 

Logan pleaded guilty and led searchers to Rossetti's body. He got a life sentence in return. 

Gillies pleaded innocent and went to trial. The jury deliberated less than an hour before convicting him.

 
 

Jess James Gillies, 38 - 99-1-13, Arizona

FLORENCE, Arizona (CNN) -- A man who kidnapped, raped and killed a woman in 1981 by pushing her off a cliff and stoning her was executed in Arizona Wednesday.

Jess James Gillies, 38, offered no last words before an official administered a lethal injection.

No members of Gillies' family or the victim's family attended the execution. However, Corrections officials said relatives visited Gillies before the execution.

Gillies and friend Mike Logan were convicted of abducting, raping and murdering Suzanne Rossetti, 26. She had bought them a six-pack of beer and given them a ride as a reward for opening her car after she locked the keys inside at a Phoenix convenience store.

Authorities said she was thrown off a 40-foot cliff but didn't die immediately.

Prosecutors said Rossetti begged for mercy before the men stoned her and buried her under boulders and rocks. A coroner said she probably was still alive when she was buried.

Logan, now 45, cooperated with prosecutors and was sentenced to life in prison with a chance for parole after 25 years.

Gillies' execution was the 13th since Arizona reinstated the death penalty in 1992.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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