Ms. Gilman says she found her son, Jesse Gilman Jr., hunched over in his Lowell apartment, his face buried in his hands.
The 22-year-old Roselawn man had just been interviewed by Lowell police and discovered he might be responsible for the death of his girlfriend's 18-month-old son a few days earlier.
"Mom, it might've been my fault," Gilman's mother says her son told her with tears in his eyes. "Anthony's death might've been my fault."
Anthony Mogan died Oct. 5, 2008, of blunt force trauma injuries. Jesse Gilman Jr. told police and his mother he accidentally stepped on Anthony.
Gilman later was charged with murder, one felony count of battery and two felony counts of neglect of a dependent for Anthony's death, Lake Criminal Court records state. He pleaded guilty to neglect and was sentenced in January to four years in prison.
The Times recently interviewed the mother of Gilman's biological child and Gilman's mother, Ms. Gilman. The Times did not identify either woman, nor the name of Gilman's child, at their request.
Ms. Gilman said she was told not to talk to the media during her son's court proceedings.
"There's a very good possibility he was the cause of this baby's death," Ms. Gilman said. "We have to accept that."
But Ms. Gilman said she can't accept her son's portrayal as a monster.
Police and Indiana Department of Child Services records described Jesse Gilman Jr. as unemotional and cold -- both at the hospital where Anthony died and during the toddler's funeral.
Ms. Gilman said her son was devastated but tried to be strong for his girlfriend, Alycia Szany, and her family.
"I'm trying to stay strong for everybody, and I know I will break down when I see your face," she said Jesse Gilman Jr. told her on the phone while he was at the hospital. "I have to be strong."
The mother of Gilman's 3-year-old son said Jesse Gilman Jr. was in tears when he called her from the hospital the night Anthony died. Two days later, she received a call from DCS asking her to keep Gilman away from his son.
She refused, telling DCS that Gilman was a good father. She told The Times she was never concerned for her son's safety.
"I was actually more concerned about Jesse," the mother of his child said. "Never in my mind did I ever think Jesse ever did anything to (my son). ... I'm positive he never hit him."
She said she takes her son to see Gilman every Tuesday during visiting hours and will let Gilman keep their son for two weeks after he gets out of prison.
"He was a good dad, always has been," she said.
Both she and Ms. Gilman said they never saw Gilman's son or Anthony injured.
Szany also initially defended Gilman. The two remained a couple even after Anthony's death.
They were engaged, and Szany referred to herself as Alycia Gilman, according to her mySpace page. Ms. Gilman said that is how her son addressed the letters he sent Szany from jail.
The couple's relationship fizzled a couple of months after Gilman's arrest.
Ms. Gilman said she hopes everyone now will be able to grieve over Anthony's death.
"If indeed Jesse was the cause of Anthony's death, I truly believe it was an accident with all of my heart," his mother said. "It's time to heal."