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Before fatal shooting, Palm Beach County fire captain engaged in 'conspiracy to distribute narcotics'

J.B. Rind now charged with murder; probable cause affidavit alleges James Gilliard bought, sold prescription drugs in months leading up to his death
J.B. Rind, arrested in fatal shooting of James Gilliard
Posted at 9:29 AM, Nov 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-27 16:16:07-05

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Before he was fatally shot in the stomach by his friend, a Palm Beach County Fire Rescue captain sent hundreds of text messages to the man who shot him in which they discussed buying and selling prescription drugs, a new court filing reveals.

J.B. Rind was arrested earlier this month in connection with the shooting death of James Gilliard.

J.B. Rind, arrested in fatal shooting of James Gilliard
J.B. Rind was arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Capt. James Gilliard.

Palm Beach Gardens police said Rind, 63, admitted that he accidentally "shot his friend in the stomach while showing him a firearm."

Initially arrested by Palm Beach Gardens police on charges of manslaughter and improper exhibition of a firearm, Rind is now charged with third-degree murder, trafficking in morphine, conspiracy to sell morphine, conspiracy to sell oxycodone and conspiracy to sell amphetamines.

The new charges were filed Wednesday by Palm Beach County prosecutors.

Along with the charges are new revelations that shed light on the nature of Rind's relationship with Gilliard in the months leading up to the 48-year-old's death.

According to a new probable cause affidavit, state attorney's office investigator John P. Boyle discovered that Rind and Gilliard exchanged at least 853 text messages between Dec. 25, 2019, and Nov. 2, when Gilliard was fatally wounded.

"In the approximately 10-month period prior to the shooting, the defendant and victim appeared to exchange text messages dealing with the buying, selling or trading of drugs on at least 77 separate occasions," Boyle wrote. "In the course of reviewing the text messages, it becomes readily apparent that Mr. Rind, his roommate 'Alex' and Mr. Gilliard were engaged in an ongoing conspiracy to distribute narcotics that Mr. Rind either received prescriptions for or brought back during his trips to Mexico. Much of the conversations occur over long text message exchanges."

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According to the affidavit, Gilliard first asked Rind for drugs on the day after Christmas last year, while Rind was in Mexico.

As the affidavit reveals, Rind sent Gilliard a text message with "pictures of where he stores his pills behind a light and where he expects money to be left in a bush."

In a later lengthy text message in May, the affidavit alleges, Rind "provides Mr. Gilliard options for sale and purchase of drugs."

Then the following month, the affidavit continues, "is another long conversation about Mr. Gilliard selling for Mr. Rind and putting money in his bank account with photos of the drug bags."

Finally, in October, Rind and Gilliard arrange a meeting for Nov. 2. In an Oct. 19 text message, the affidavit alleges, Rind messages Gilliard and asks to "play let's make a deal." According to the affidavit, in the same message, Rind claims that he needs "a financial favor" and "will throw in" his Smith & Wesson 9mm revolver -- the same gun that was used to kill Gilliard.

Several prescription drugs were found in the center console of Gilliard's Ford F150, including Xanax, morphine and a Mexican brand of oxycodone, Boyle explained in the affidavit.

Gilliard's toxicology report also revealed that he had amphetamines, alprazolam, morphine and oxycodone in his system at the time of his death, the affidavit said.

"The oxycodone and amphetamine results were outside of therapeutic levels," Boyle wrote. "I also learned that the victim did not have any prescriptions for the aforementioned medications."

In conclusion, Boyle wrote, there is reason to believe that Rind committed third-degree murder "for the shooting death of his co-conspirator that occurred during the ongoing conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and morphine."

Palm Beach County Fire Rescue would not comment on the allegations, instead releasing the following statement:

Palm Beach County Fire Rescue does not engage in discussion regarding open investigations, law enforcement matters or cases involving pending litigation.

Rind is currently out of jail on bond. An arraignment has been set for Dec. 10.