A woman accused of stabbing her poker player husband to death in an exclusive Las Vegas condominium pleaded not guilty Thursday to murder, in a case that could get her life in prison if convicted.
A judge set an Oct. 29 trial date for Jill Rockcastle, 49, in the slaying of William Gustafik, 44, a former California chiropractor who became a Las Vegas poker pro under the moniker “The Manipulator.”
Rockcastle’s lawyer, Joseph Abood, said following the brief court hearing that Rockcastle may seek an insanity defense.
“The facts of the case make it clear that we need to take a look at her mental state,” Abood said.
A Clark County grand jury indicted Rockcastle on May 23, accusing her of premeditated murder. Gustafik’s body was discovered April 13 after a lawyer in California directed police to a blood-spattered bedroom of a 23rd floor condo at the Panorama Towers just west of the Las Vegas Strip.
A friend of Rockcastle’s told investigators April 16 that he got an e-mail from Rockcastle in which she described the slaying as self-defense. She said she forgot she had a butcher knife in her hand when she struck Gustafik after he backed her into a bedroom during an argument, according to the police report.
Rockcastle was found unconscious three days later at a motel in San Luis Obispo, Calif., after police say she sent confessional e-mails to friends and left a note in a car for her children. Police said in the report they believed she overdosed on unspecified medication.
Rockcastle was hospitalized for several days before being extradited from California to Nevada. She has been held since May 4 without bail at the Clark County jail.