A former Kingston dentist who was the subject of a sensational murder trial two years ago is free after serving 19 months of a potential seven-year sentence in state prison. State records show that Gilberto A. Nunez, 51 was released from the medium-security Altona Correctional Facility up in Clinton County on Monday, Sept. 10.
In October 2015, Nunez was indicted on charges of second-degree murder in connection with the November 2011 death of Thomas Kolman Jr. of Saugerties. Kolman was found dead in his car in the parking lot of a Planet Fitness gym in the Town of Ulster; a medical examiner would later rule that his death was caused by poisoning using the powerful sedative Midazolam. At his trial, prosecutors argued that met Kolman in the parking lot and administered the sedative, intent on killing his friend and onetime neighbor in Saugerties. Police believe that Nunez wanted Kolman out of the way so that he could continue an affair with Kolman’s wife, Linda.
Over the course of a two-week trial, prosecutors painted Nunez as an obsessive lover who concocted a bizarre scheme to break up the couple using forged documents that purported to be from the Central Intelligence Agency, fake text messages from a nonexistent lover of Thomas Kolman and even an email in which Nunez allegedly impersonated his own mother imploring Linda to leave her husband. When that failed, prosecutors said, he killed his rival using a drug from his dental practice.
Nunez’s defense team meanwhile argued that prosecutors could not even prove that Kolman had died from Midazolam poisoning — rather than a heart attack — much less prove Nunez had administered an intentionally fatal dose of the drug. On June 17, 2016 a jury found Nunez not guilty of murder while convicting him of felony forgery charges related to the fake CIA documents. In two subsequent trials Nunez would be found guilty of insurance fraud for inflating damage claims following a fire at building adjacent to his Washington Avenue, Kingston, dental practice and perjury for failing to disclose his other-than-honorable discharge from the U.S. Marine Corps on a pistol permit application.
In February 2017, County Court Judge Donald Williams sentenced Nunez to two-and-a-third to seven years in state prison. Earlier this year, Nunez was approved for release based on “merit time,” which allows nonviolent offenders to shave off one-sixth of their minimum sentence provided they comply with program goals and maintain a clean disciplinary record. According to state records, Nunez will remain on parole until Oct. 2, 2023.
Nunez will not be able to return to his former dental practice. At sentencing, Williams denied Nunez’s request for a certificate of relief that would allow him to regain his license following his release from prison.