Singer Marvin Gaye was shot and killed by his father Marvin Gay Sr. today (April 1, 1984).
Marvin Gaye had just finished his “Sexual Healing Tour,” and took up residence in his parents house, as he organized his finances after an extensive stay in Belgium, to avoid paying taxes.
Marvin had bought the house for his parents in 1975, and he had returned to the United States to help his mother, who was recovering from kidney surgery.
It was a stressful time for Marvin Gaye, who was using cocaine and PCP.
He also became paranoid over his beliefs that someone was attempting to take his life.
In addition to wearing a bulletproof vest, Marvin Gaye purchased several weapons, including an unlicensed .38 Smith & Wesson pistol, which was to be used to protect Marvin Gay Sr. from intruders and robbers.
Tensions in the house grew over a misplaced insurance policy document, until they exploded into a shouting match between Marvin’s parents.
“Marvin hit him,” Marvin’s mother Alberta said. “I shouted for him to stop, but he paid no attention to me. He gave my husband some hard licks.”
Eventually, Alberta separated the fighting men.
Moments later Marvin Gaye’s father entered his son’s room with the .38 pistol, pointed the gun at Marvin and shot him.
“I was standing about eight feet away from Marvin, when my husband came to the door of the bedroom with his pistol,” Alberta Gay told police. “My husband didn’t say anything, he just pointed the gun at Marvin. I screamed but it was very quick. He, my husband, shot – and Marvin screamed. I tried to run. Marvin slid down to the floor after the first shot.”
The first shot entered Marvin’s chest, perforated his right lung, heart diaphragm, liver stomach and left kidney.
During an interview with David Ritz in 1979, Alberta Gaye said that her husband hated his son.
“My husband never wanted Marvin, and he never liked him. He used to say that he didn’t think he was really his child,” Alberta Gay said in an interview prior to her son’s murder.
“I told him that was nonsense. He knew Marvin was his. But for some reason, he didn’t love Marvin, and what’s worse, he didn’t want me to love Marvin either. Marvin wasn’t very old before he understood that,” Alberta said in 1979.
An autopsy later revealed that Marvin Gaye had cocaine and minute traces of PCP in his system.
Marvin Gay Sr. was arrested and charged with manslaughter and held on $100,000 bail.
“If I could bring him back, I would. I was afraid of him. I thought I was going to get hurt. I didn’t know what was going to happen. I’m really sorry for everything that happened,” Marvin Gay Sr. said.
Marvin Gay Sr. was charged with first-degree murder, but he entered into a deal with prosecutors and pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter.
He was given a six-year suspended sentenced and five years probation.
Shortly afterwards, Alberta Gay files for divorce after 49 years of marriage to Marvin Gay Sr.