Texas Sex Offender Fakes His Death for a Second Time by Allegedly Killing Homeless Man

PHOTO: A mugshot of accused sex offender, Michael Gilbert.PlayWFAA/ABC
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A convicted sex offender allegedly killed a homeless man in an attempt to fake his own death and evade rape charges, police in Fort Worth, Texas said.

Michael A. Gilbert, 42, shot a homeless man who he thought resembled him, stuffed him in his car's trunk and set the car on fire in Eugene McCray Park, police said.

"When the fire department got there, they extinguished the vehicle. The fire department always checks the hood and the trunk and so when they popped the trunk, that's when they discovered a body was in the trunk," Fort Worth Police Officer Sharron Neal said. "The autopsy did reveal that the victim had a gunshot wound to the head."

The car's license plate linked Gilbert to the car, but dental records proved that the dead man was not Gilbert. Police are still trying to identify the dead man.

There were two outstanding warrants for Gilbert's arrest. One is for a sexual assault with a minor under 17 and the other is failure to register a change of address, Neal said.

This isn't the first time Gilbert attempted to fake his death. Using the alias "Michael Brown," he called authorities in Biloxi, Miss., in 2002 and said that his cousin was drowning. Gilbert was faking his own death to avoid returning to jail over a parole violation, police said. He was charged with sending false distress signals and sentenced to six months in jail.

No body was ever found, police said.

When police came to arrest Gilbert on two outstanding warrants Tuesday, he didn't go quietly. After a seven hour standoff at West Chase Apartments, SWAT officers used tear gas to get into his apartment. Police found Gilbert hiding in the attic. He attempted to slit his throat during the arrest.

Gilbert is being treated at a hospital and when he's well enough, he'll be moved to jail.

"We're still searching for more evidence and pursuing capital murder charges," Neal said.

Gilbert has spent the past two decades in and out of jail. In 1987, he was convicted of raping a 12-year-old girl. He's been back to jail four times for parole violations, ABC Affiliate WFAA reported.

Gilbert's first attempt at faking his death lead to a six month sentence in federal custody. He was also ordered to participate in sex offender treatment services, according to court documents.