Reports: Wife of slain poker player e-mailed suicide note confession

SAN RAMON, Calif. — Before she tried to kill herself, the wife of a professional poker player who was stabbed to death in Las Vegas sent friends and relatives an e-mail in which she confessed to the slaying but claimed it was done in self-defense, two newspapers reported Friday.

Jill Rockcastle claimed she and her husband, William Gustafik, cheated on income taxes, defrauded business associates and were nonetheless deeply in debt from living as high rollers, according the 10-page e-mail obtained by the Tri-Valley Herald and the Contra Costa Times.

“This is my final statement to help all the people affected by my actions, Bill’s actions and the results of whatever does happen to them in our aftermath,” reads the e-mail, which was believed to have been intended as a suicide note. “I have already done the most final things possible to stop us from hurting anyone else.”

Rockcastle, 49, of San Ramon, is awaiting extradition to Nevada to face murder charges in Gustafik’s death. She was hospitalized in San Luis Obispo after she was found unconscious in a motel room Monday, briefly jailed, then returned to the hospital, according to Las Vegas police Lt. Lewis Roberts.

Detectives are working to verify that she was the source of the e-mail, Roberts said.

The e-mail describes Rockcastle’s life as “a constant hell” of helping Gustafik, a former East Bay chiropractor, to scam friends, play poker and dodge bill collectors.

The e-mail also included a statement from an unnamed lawyer, giving a detailed account of the events leading up to the stabbing.

The statement indicates that Rockcastle went to meet Gustafik in Las Vegas for a poker tournament, terrified because she hadn’t been able to come up with the $30,000 he needed to play. Gustafik began acting aggressively and backed her into the kitchen where she grabbed a knife, the statement said.

“She was terrified that he was going to kill her and unable to retreat, began striking at him with both hands. He went down and she realized, for the first time, that she had inflicted 3-4 wounds to his upper chest,” according to the account.

Rockcastle tried to eat oatmeal mixed with drugs before she fled back to California, the statement reads.

Although the e-mail was reported to have been meant to explain her actions after her death, Rockcastle knew the risk of telling her story in print.

“If for some reason I fail in this,” the note reads, “at least this will guarantee my conviction and I will have to pay everyday for my disgusting life.”

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