Joseph L. Carlock, a 65-year-old San Diego auto mechanic, was sentenced to life in prison for the slaying of Lt. Donald J. Gillis, 45, on Sept. 20, 1958. Carlock was convicted by a jury of first-degree murder and sentenced by Superior Judge William A. Glen.
Gillis, a veteran Los Angeles County sheriff’s lieutenant, was killed in the Laguna Mountain recreation area, about 50 miles east of San Diego, where he was spending a weekend camping with his wife, Leatha.
Carlock, a retired naval air station employee, was said by police to have been “apparently intoxicated” at the time.
San Diego County Coroner A.E. Gallagher said Carlock drove into the Gillis’ camp area in search of a deer hunting party from which he had become separated.
The coroner said witnesses told him that Gillis tried unsuccessfully to help Carlock locate his friends, then told him, “Get into your car and sleep it off. We’ll help you find your party in the morning.”
As Gillis headed back to his parked station wagon, Carlock took a rifle from his car and fired two shots into the air.
The Los Angeles officer went back, disarmed Carlock and headed back to his station wagon again.
When he faced in Carlock’s direction again, according to the police report, Carlock grabbed a second rifle from his car and fired, a bullet striking Gillis in the chest. He died almost instantly.
Investigators said Carlock claimed he fired the shot in self-defense, in that he saw Gillis holding the rifle, headed toward him.
Gillis had been with the sheriff’s department for 20 years and was assigned to the Firestone substation.