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Murder suspect solicited Palm Beach County fire captain to sell drugs to co-workers, court filing reveals

J.B. Rind faces additional drug charges; amended motion includes text exchanges, photos of drugs found in Capt. James Gilliard's truck after his shooting death
J.B. Rind, arrested in fatal shooting of James Gilliard
Posted at 4:24 PM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 19:30:51-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Making the case for why a suspect in the fatal shooting of a Palm Beach County Fire Rescue captain is a flight risk and should be jailed, Palm Beach County prosecutors on Thursday released 119 pages worth of evidence in support of their argument, including text messages that suggest J.B. Rind was soliciting Capt. James Gilliard to sell off-brand prescription drugs, obtained during the suspect's many visits to Mexico, to his co-workers.

Rind is facing additional drug charges, including conspiracy to traffic in oxycodone, and is currently out of jail on a $20,000 bond after his arrest last month in connection with the shooting death of Gilliard.

The 63-year-old Palm Beach Gardens man was initially facing charges of manslaughter and improper exhibition of a firearm, but he has since been charged with third-degree murder and a slew of trafficking and conspiracy counts after an investigation revealed that Rind had been selling prescription drugs to Gilliard.

As the court filing lays out, Rind and Gilliard had been discussing the buying and selling of narcotics via text message since December 2019.

The first mention of the drugs took place Dec. 10, 2019, when Gilliard asked Rind if he had any "mellie," which prosecutors said is code for oxycodone.

Those conversations continued on the day after Christmas and into the New Year.

Among the texts that Gilliard sent to Rind were:

"Hey JR. Hope all is well. Do you have any mellie? I need 10" -- Gilliard to Rind, 12/10/19
"If you have any blu mellies I can take 20. I can pick up in the am if all is good." -- Gilliard to Rind, 12/26/19
"Happy your (sic) going to Mexico. I will take them just let me know when they are avail." -- Gilliard to Rind, 12/27/19
"Does your roommate have access to the oranges? I need 20 if they are avail." -- Gilliard to Rind, 12/27/19
"Actually could you make it 30 pieces." -- Gilliard to Rind, 12/27/19

By February, the court filing shows, Gilliard had conversations that implied he was selling the drugs that Rind had sold him.

"I would like to pick up 30 blu mellies if you have them this am." -- Gilliard to Rind, 2/5/20
"I couldn't get them yesterday. I'm going to try today" -- Rind to Gilliard, 2/5/20
"Ok dude" -- Gilliard to Rind, 2/5/20
"Ok. Gonna need 33" -- Gilliard to Rind, 2/5/20
"Hey dude sorry to keep bothering you. Any luck today. My guy keeps asking. Even if you don't have the whole 33 do you have any?" -- Gilliard to Rind, 2/5/20

Then on April 1, the court filing shows, Rind sent Gilliard a text in which he mentioned Palm Beach County Fire Rescue.

"Two other things, please see if you can find out information on procurement office for Palm Beach Fire & rescue. On another note, I have an agenda with you selling bottles to your co-workers. If any of your co workers buy bottles then I can say Palm Beach f&r use Cotisol. I don't need to give names or station # but then I can legally say that it's used by the fire department. Even if I gave your name as a reference as a satisfied client you still are a member of palm beach fr" -- Rind to Gilliard, 4/1/20

There were no texts that revealed whether Gilliard ever acted on Rind's request. Gilliard merely replied, "Sounds good. I will make some calls on orange."

Then he followed up with a question.

"What's the best deal on the oranges if I get 50" -- Gilliard to Rind, 4/1/20

The filing reveals orange to be code for Adderall.

Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Capt. Pat Wehrle told WPTV that the agency "does not engage in discussion regarding open investigations, law enforcement matters or cases involving pending litigation."

Among the many new exhibits filed include pictures of the narcotics found in Gilliard's truck after his death, a ledger of Gilliard's sales and $2,280 in cash that was found in the room where Gilliard was shot, along with the revolver used to kill him.

Exhibits entered into evidence in case against J.B. Rind in death of Capt. James Gilliard
Exhibits entered by the state show some of the drugs found in Capt. James Gilliard's truck after his death, a hand-written ledger of Gilliard's drug transactions and $2,280 in cash that was found in the room where Gilliard was fatally shot.

Search warrants filed by the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department and obtained by WPTV reveal multiple firearms were found inside Rind's residence.

In his amended motion seeking pretrial detention or an increased bond for Rind, assistant state attorney John Parnofiello noted that GPS coordinates from some of Rind's exchanges with Gilliard show that Rind was in Merida, Mexico, where Rind's wife has a home. Civil court records show that his wife has since filed for divorce.

Parnofiello argues that "there is a substantial probability" Rind committed the listed crimes, which carry a minimum mandatory of 27 years in prison if convicted, and that "no conditions of release will reasonably assure the defendant's appearance at subsequent criminal proceedings."

Rind's attorney, Eric Schwartzreich, on Friday filed a response in opposition to the state attorney's office request, saying, in part, that prosecutors knew of this evidence at the time of his client's Nov. 5 bond hearing and "there has been no change in circumstances or information to warrant an increase or modification" of his bond.

Schwartzreich said Rind has been a Palm Beach County resident since 2003, "suffers from bipolar disorder and sleep apnea" and, because of his age, "is in the high-risk category for COVID-19."

Rind's attorney also noted that his client is "amenable to wearing a GPS monitor in order to remain on pretrial release."

Attorneys are expected in court Wednesday to discuss the matter.