An Irvine man accused of gunning down his brother and mother, who owned the Lady Lulu boutique in downtown Palm Springs, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to double murder charges.
Nolan Pascal Pillay, 37, is due back in a Newport Beach courtroom on March 9 for a pretrial hearing. He remains jailed without bail.
Pillay is charged with two counts of murder, with special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and two sentencing-enhancing gun use allegations. Prosecutors have yet to decide whether to seek the death penalty.
The bodies of Gloria Pillay, 58, and her 35-year-old son, Arlyn Pillay, were found Jan. 31 inside a home that the brothers shared with their father in the 14900 block of Crystal Circle.
The defendant was arrested at the residence without incident the same day, according to Kim Mohr of the Irvine Police Department.
Gloria Pillay was well-known in Palm Springs, where she was called “Lulu” by those who knew her. She and her younger son designed many of the items for sale at her boutique at 134 La Plaza, where a makeshift memorial was created upon news of their deaths.
A GoFundMe page was also created to raise money for funeral expenses, as well as to try to keep the boutique and Arlyn’s art gallery in Tustin open and operational. The GoFundMe page can be viewed at https://www.gofundme.com/arlyn-pillay-art-gallery-memorial.
Nolan Pillay’s attorney, Jacqueline Goodman, said her client has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and has “had these racing thoughts that would torture him.”
Goodman said “knowing what I do about the seriousness of his mental illness, I would not be surprised” if an insanity defense is mounted.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Keith Burke, who filed the charges, declined comment.
Goodman said her client’s “father and everyone in his family so far have been completely supportive and (are) devastated. Everyone has remarked on how gentle and nonviolent he is.”
Many relatives were flying in from South Africa to support the defendant, according to his attorney, who said that of all the relatives she has been in contact with, no one “blames him, which I think is very remarkable.”
Pillay has a college degree and has tried to hold down a job, but his mental illness made that difficult, Goodman said. She said he made a habit of making breakfast for his father and packing him a lunch for work.
“He would do errands at home, so he was always desirous of being helpful, of pulling his weight, but he struggled with his mental illness to keep a job,” she said.