News and Tribune

Floyd County

May 7, 2013

3 P.M. UPDATE: William Clyde Gibson’s defense granted continuance

Trial of accused serial murderer pushed back to late September



“It takes time to get ready for a case like this. We are talking about three cases here,” Biggs said. “We can’t control where the witnesses live or if they don’t want to talk to us.”

In making her decision, Orth said it’s important that both sides have more than enough time to be prepared since all murder cases involving the death penalty are heavily scrutinized by the state’s supreme court. 

“If we are cautious up front, we can be rewarded on the back side,” she said. “This case is barely a year old and a case of this magnitude, I feel like we are ahead of schedule.”

After the hearing, Mike Whitis, son of Christine Whitis, said Orth’s ruling was “not totally unexpected.”

“We are ready to move forward,” he told reporters outside of the courtroom. “I feel like this is an ongoing tactic by the defense ... a stall tactic. We understand that we have to jump through hoops to make sure he gets a fair trail.”

He said there is not a day that goes by that he doesn’t think of his slain mother. He hopes this continuance will be the last one granted.

“It’s not in my control ... I can’t do anything about it,” he said.

Owen said he was not surprised by the ruling, but wanted to make sure his objection was heard.

“We are ready to go right now,” he said afterward. “I don’t know what they need more time for; we know we are ready to go.”

Owen said it’s important for the families in the three murder cases to have closure. The jury selection for Gibson’s second murder trial is scheduled for January.

“When you prepare a victim for a trial like this, they get their hopes up and get prepared mentally. He [Mike Whitis] was ready to go to trial. It’s like a roller coaster for him. They are looking to the justice system to provide some kind of comfort.”

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