For the past few years, I’ve been fascinated with a bizarre murder case in Kingston, New York, where I live.
A local dentist, Dr. Gilberto Nunez, was charged with the 2011 death of his close friend Thomas Kolman, husband of Linda Kolman, with whom he was was having an affair. Kolman was found dead in his car early one morning in the parking lot of a Planet Fitness. He had the sedative midazolam in his bloodstream — a drug Nunez not only used in his practice, but which he’d also just read up about on his computer.
In newspaper reports Nunez came off as both a cold-blooded killer and a bumbling amateur straight out of a Coen Brothers movie: failing to cover his digital tracks, faking emails from a CIA agent, as well as inventing emails from his mother begging Linda not to dump her son.
For years it seemed as if everyone in Kingston was speculating whether Nunez was guilty or innocent. I’d cross paths with former patients who swore by his character and good nature. There were others — like my dental hygienist, who formerly worked for Nunez — who were sure he did it.
I live across the street from the Ulster County Court house, where news trucks congested the street during the trial, and I pass Nunez’s now vacant practice on morning walks, so I was particularly excited to read this New Yorker article by James Lasdun, one of Nunez’s former patients. Lasdun attended the trial and spent time with Nunez, shedding light on the ways law enforcement can botch things up by determining too soon that it knows what happened, and exploring how hard it can be to really know someone and judge their character.