University Park shooter faces 48 years for killing FAU student

Alexander Gillis pleaded guilty to the shooting.


Alexander Gillis. Photo courtesy of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office

Thomas Chiles, Features Editor

After pleading guilty to a shooting that took place almost two years ago, the gunman who killed an FAU student during a drug deal will spend the majority of his life in prison.

Twenty-four-year-old Alexander Gillis was sentenced to 48 years for the fatal shooting of FAU sophomore Nicholas Acosta.

Gillis, along with four other men, tried to steal marijuana from 20-year-old Acosta Dec. 29, 2015. The plan left Acosta dead in his off-campus University Park apartment after Gillis shot the sophomore twice, the Sun Sentinel said.  

Gillis cried while telling Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath that he “wasn’t interested in the weed and money. It wasn’t my idea. I don’t know how to say I’m sorry but I truly am.”

Donovan Malik Henry, 20, was convicted in January of this year and sentenced to 35 years in prison for second-degree murder, armed robbery, and armed burglary. He was a freshman and member of the FAU soccer team at the time of the shooting.

Rodrick Demetrius Woods, 25 and cousin of Alexander, Adonis Giles, 24, pleaded guilty to the same charges. The two haven’t been sentenced yet.

The fifth member of the group has not been identified.

Thomas Chiles is the features editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @thomas_iv.