Poughkeepsie, New York, resident and dentist Gilberto A. Nunez has been charged with second degree murder in connection to the death of Thomas Kolman. Nunez has been accused of forcing Kolman to ingest an unidentified substance that ultimately led to his demise.
Nunez, 48, was arrested Friday morning by Ulster police for the murder of Kolman, 44, whose death took place Nov. 29, 2011. Nunez heads a dental practice at 389 Washington Ave. in Uptown Kingston and was sent to Ulster County jail without bail. He’s scheduled to appear in court Oct. 6, 2015.(1)
A history of fraud, destruction and murder
This isn’t the first time Nunez has been in hot water. He was charged with perjury for allegedly lying on a pistol permit, reports the Poughkeepsie Journal. During that time, Nunez was under indictment for insurance fraud, falsifying business records and grand larceny as well. These charges were fueled by a fire at a building next to Nunez’s dental office that burned down in February. He is now facing multiple charges over an allegedly fraudulent $8,400 insurance claim connected to the fire.(1)
As of right now, Nunez is not being accused of causing the fire. The burned-down building has since been demolished. According to a website for Nunez’ dental practice, he is married and has five children.
“Dr. Nunez is a Research Associate at New York University, volunteer firefighter, member of the Chamber of Commerce of Ulster County, Academy of General Dentistry, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, American Academy of Implant Dentistry, Better Business Bureau and World Clinical Laser Institute,” reads the website.(2)
New charges bring Nunez down
In late May, Nunez was hammered with new charges made by the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office, purporting that he lied on his pistol permit application last year, thereby charging him with two counts of second degree perjury, two counts of offering a false instrument for filing and first degree making an apparently sworn false statement.(3)
According to detectives, Nunez went absent without leave (AWOL) from the U.S. Marine Corps from August 1987 to July 1990. Because Nunez left the Corps on poor terms, he should have reported that on his pistol permit application, but he failed to do so.(3)
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office has appointed a special prosecutor to head the case. The Town of Ulster Police Department and the New York State Police have aided the investigation.(3)
Nunez’s attorney fires back
Nunez’s attorney, Gerald Shargel, of Winston and Strawn’s New York office, declared that his client was innocent Friday, and has questioned the underlying cause of Kolman’s death.
“Gilberto Nunez has been saying for years that he had nothing to do with this murder, if, in fact, it was a murder,” Shragel said. “He is an innocent man and his lack of culpability will be demonstrated again and again in the courtroom.”(3)
“Gilberto Nunez is not going to succumb to prosecutorial pressure,” Shragel said Friday in regard to former charges made against his client. “The so-called fraud and pistol permit charges are ludicrous.”(3)
Kolman claims that Nunez was a good friend of his. Kolman’s death and alleged dental poisoning took place the same day, according to information provided by the DA office and Kolman’s obituary. He was a physical therapist, father of four and area resident for more than 20 years, according to his obituary. He also served as a volunteer Little League coach for the Saugerties Athletic Association.(3)
Kolman’s father, Thomas Kolman Sr. from West Babylon in Long Island, reported that his son’s body was first found in a Planet Fitness parking lot. They originally thought that his death might have been health-related. After the autopsy report, however, Kolman’s father suspected something, or someone, was to blame.(3)
Kolman Sr. says the police haven’t let him in on the details of the case. Nevertheless, he remains hopeful that justice will be served.