News and Tribune

Clark County

October 21, 2013

Gibson admits to killing in police interview video shown on first day of murder trial

Prosecutors seeking death penalty in brutal sexual assault, murder of 75-year-old woman

(Continued)

NEW ALBANY — WITNESS TESTIMONY

Henderson’s first four witnesses were all officers with the New Albany Police Department who responded to Gibson’s home about 3 p.m. April 19, 2012. Each of the officers testified that Whitis was found lying unresponsive on the floor of the home’s attached garage. Her pants and underwear were found pulled down to her ankles and her shoes were still on her feet.

Her shirt was pulled up and her bra was unclasped, the officers said from the witness stand.

Her body was contorted, lying in an unnatural position. Henderson had told the jurors earlier in the day that Gibson had broken Whitis’ back during the fatal encounter.

One of the officers, Detective Carrie East, was the last to testify Monday, and she is expected to return to the witness stand before the end of the week.

GIBSON’S INTERVIEW

During the latter half of the trial’s first day, the court was shown more than an hour of a video recording of East interviewing Gibson the day after his arrest. East said Gibson had wanted to talk to her the night before, but he was determined to be too intoxicated to conduct the interview. After Gibson’s arrest, and a stop at Floyd Memorial Hospital for DNA collection, he was taken to the Floyd County Jail where he provided a .23 blood alcohol content.

The interview was held in a small room, and Gibson was already wearing an orange jumpsuit issued by the Floyd County Jail.

In the recording, Gibson admits to strangling Whitis in the living room of his home, dragging her into the garage and then mutilating her body before leaving the home to have a drink at Tumbleweed restaurant. According to prosecutors, Gibson then went to Shooters Saloon, which is now Uptown Bar, located on Vincennes Street.

While at Shooters, Gibson saw a friend, shared drinks with the man, and invited him to his home for more drinking. The man came to Gibson’s home, and the two visited for nearly an hour and a half as Whitis lie dead in another part of the home.

The man left the home unaware of murder, and was later found to be a cooperative witness for investigators.

In the video footage of East interviewing Gibson, he showed glimpses of remorse and bewilderment of his actions that took the life of a woman he’d known virtually all his life.

“I wish you could just shoot me,” he told East earlier in the interview. Adding later in the conversation, “I was going to hang myself, but I didn’t have enough nerve to do [it]. I should have.”

While Gibson buried his face in his hands and seemed perplexed at his own actions, he cited his mother’s death in January of the same year — and his deep sadness and heavy drinking that resulted from it — as a possible excuse for attacking Whitis. Gibson even told East that he had pretty much stayed intoxicated since his mother had died.

“I was just so full of pain, anger and rage. I was thinking about my mom,” Gibson said.

He also said he had not slept for several days before taking her life.

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