News and Tribune

March 14, 2013

Gibson back in court

Jury questionnaires to be mailed to 800

By CHRIS MORRIS
chris.morris@newsandtribune.com

NEW ALBANY — William Clyde Gibson III returned to Floyd County Superior Court No. 1 Wednesday morning for a pre-trial conference.

Gibson, 54, formerly of the 800 block of Woodbourne Drive in New Albany, will be tried separately in the murders of Christine Whitis, 75, Karen Hodella, 45, and Stephanie Kirk, 35.

In the deaths of Whitis and Kirk, Gibson faces the death penalty. Whitis was found strangled in Gibson’s garage April 19, 2012, and Kirk, who had been missing, was found buried in his backyard eight days later. Hodella was found murdered near the Ohio River in January 2003. She had been missing since October 2002.

During Wednesday’s pre-trial conference, two topics were discussed — jury selection and the issue on moving forward on three separate trials. The Whitis murder trial is scheduled to begin July 15.

Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson said a jury questionnaire, with 200 questions, will be mailed to 800 potential jurors in Dearborn County. Attorneys on both sides will begin reviewing the questionnaires “probably in early May” and from there a jury will be selected.

At the omnibus date April 9, trial dates will be set. Henderson expects only one of the murder trials to be held this year with the second death penalty case likely to go to trial in January, 2014.