crimesider

Big Money Didn't Buy Love for Health Club Gunman

(Personal Photo)
PITTSBURGH (CBS/AP) He had almost a quarter of a million dollars, but no one to spend it on.

George Sodini, the gunman who killed three women, and himself, earlier this month in a Pittsburgh-area health club after writing that he hadn't had a girlfriend since 1984 and hadn't slept with a woman in 19 years, had $225,000 in the bank.

In a world full of Eliot Spitzer's and Ashley Dupre's, think what that kind of money could have bought.

Love for a night. Or a year.

A romantic weekend in Paris or lots of long walks along Caribbean beaches.

Maybe even a mail-order bride or two.

So why did he decide to kill?

Embittered by his decades-long inability to attract the opposite sex, Sodini, a 48-year-old computer analyst, fatally shot himself after killing three women and wounding nine others attending a weekly Latin dance aerobics class at an LA Fitness Club on Aug. 4, 2009. He wore black workout gear and fumbled around in a duffel bag before producing three guns, firing indiscriminately after shutting off the lights.

Now, according to court papers filed Friday by Sodini's brother, the gunman willed his estate to the University of Pittsburgh.

(CBS)
A legal expert tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review the bequest is likely moot, however, since Sodini's estate will likely be used to pay damages once wrongful death or other lawsuits are filed. None have been filed as of yet.

A spokesman for the University says he isn't sure the school would accept the money anyway.

This comes as the state Senate sought to close the saga by observing a moment of silence for the three women killed in the shootings.

State Sen. Mary Jo White addressed about 400 mourners in Franklin who gathered Wednesday for the funeral of Jody Billingsley, 37. Funerals for the other two victims, Heidi Overmier, 46, of Carnegie, and Elizabeth Gannon, 49, of Green Tree, were on Saturday.

White presented Billingsley's parents, Leon and Judith Billingsley, with a copy of the Senate resolution calling for a moment of silence honoring the victims at 11 a.m. Wednesday, the time the funeral began.

A parade of cousins, friends, co-workers, former teachers and even her senior prom date paid honors to Billingsley. Billingsley, who lived in the Pittsburgh suburb of Mount Lebanon, had a doctorate in physical therapy and worked in sales for a medical equipment company.

Her funeral was in Franklin, near tiny Utica where she grew up swimming and picking blueberries behind her house, about 85 miles north of Pittsburgh.

Betsy Brickell McKinley was Billingsley's physical education teacher for several years as she attended Franklin Area schools, where she starred in basketball and other sports. McKinley, now chair of the physical education department at Slippery Rock University, said Billingsley had the kind of attitude that could teach anyone by example.

"I as her teacher learned so many things from Jody. Somehow, she turned the tables on me and I became the student," McKinley said.

Stopping to wipe away tears, she then pointed to Billingsley's parents for emphasis as she offered this tribute to them and their daughter: "She was raised up right."

(Facebook Photo)
38-year-old Jody Billingsley.

The Rev. Richard Harry, pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Franklin, didn't mention the shootings directly, nor did any of those who spoke at the funeral. But he opened the service with remarks acknowledging it.

"It's right to be angry. There are things to be angry over," he said, standing near the bronze-colored casket, which was covered by a large floral spray. "But then put it behind you. Don't sleep on it. Don't dwell on it. Don't let the devil get that kind of foothold on you."

Instead, Billingsley's family and friends remembered her energy, her passion for Pittsburgh's sports teams, especially the Steelers, whom she traveled to Tampa to see win the Super Bowl in February, and her passion for Pittsburgh bred singer-songwriter Bill Deasy.

Her friends said she rarely missed a Deasy show in Pittsburgh. Deasy closed the 90-minute service with a moving acoustic performance of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."

Also Wednesday, the last of the wounded was released from the hospital. Mary Primis, 26, of Moon Township, the pregnant aerobics instructor who led the class Sodini targeted, left Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh on Wednesday morning, a spokesman said.

Primis was shot in both shoulders but is expected to make a full recovery, and her unborn child was not harmed.

PREVIOUSLY ON CRIMESIDER
August 12, 2009 - "Nice Guy Must Die": Gym Killer's Shocking Date Tape
August 10, 2009 - Gym Killer Was Devoted Follower of Dating Guru
August 10, 2009 - Pa. Health Club Massacre: The Women's Stories
August 7, 2009 - You are Giving Gym Killer What He Wants... So Are We
August 6, 2009 - Pa. Health Club Killer George Sodini's Disturbing Youtube Video
August 6, 2009 - Inside the Twisted Mind of the Health Club Killer
August 5, 2009 - "Why Do This to Young Girls?" Did Sick Online Diary Foreshadow Health Club Slaughter
August 5, 2009 - Fit for Murder: Gunman Shoots Up Pa. Fitness Club

  • Ryan Smith

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