In the weeks leading up to the murders, Gilmore’s life seemed to be moving beyond his control: his girlfriend, Nicole, became frightened by his violent, erratic behaviour and drinking, and left him after only a few months together. In addition, his financial situation was worsened by the purchase of an expensive truck that proved well beyond his means, which could then only be paid for through crime.
On the evening of 19th July 1976, Gilmore approached Max Jensen, an employee at a self-service petrol station in Orem, Utah, threatening him with a gun and demanding that he empty his pockets. Jensen complied and yet, despite this, Gilmore shot him twice in the head. He then left, without bothering to empty the cash register. Witnesses who saw him later claim he was agitated, but did not seem overly concerned.
The next day, Gilmore took his new truck in for a minor repair, and left the garage while the repair was carried out, entering the City Center Motel in Provo. Once there he threatened the manager, Ben Bushnell, with a gun, and demanded that he hand over the motel cash box. Again, despite complying with the demands, he shot Bushnell, and left the building when Bushnell’s wife came to investigate the noise. Gilmore emptied the cash box, then discarded it outside the motel, and made to discard the gun as well, but it accidentally discharged and he injured his hand.
When he went to collect his truck the garage owner noticed his bloodied hand, and made a note of Gilmore’s licence plate. When he heard about the local robbery he notified the police.