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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

NEW ALBANY — Accused serial killer William Clyde Gibson III described to police detectives how he killed a 75-year-old woman, mutilated her body, and then went to have a drink at a local restaurant, according to a video interview shown on the first day of his murder trial Monday.

The police interview with Gibson painted a picture of a gruesome crime and a man who was struggling with his demons leading up to the sexual assault and killing of Christine Whitis, a longtime family friend. Gibson’s trial began Monday morning in a Floyd County court, where prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson told the jury — which was selected in and transported from Dearborn County — that Gibson, 56, sexually assaulted Whitis, Clarksville, before killing the woman in his Woodbourne Drive home in New Albany in April 2012. Henderson said Whitis and Gibson knew each other, as she had been the best friend of Gibson’s mother.

The chain of events began when GIbson placed a call to Whitis’ cell phone on April 18, 2012.

Gibson reached Whitis about 10:50 a.m., but she was preoccupied with a doctor’s visit and called Gibson back minutes after noon, Henderson told the jurors. Henderson claimed Gibson used the pretense that he was grieving from his mother’s passing to lure Whitis to his home. He said Gibson treated Whitis as his “prey” after she came to the home to give him support.

During opening remarks, Henderson showed a color photograph of Whitis on a large projection screen and described her as an active, vibrant and healthy widow with a strong relationship with her son and grandchildren.

“She is loved and she loved,” Henderson said as he introduced the case to the jurors.

Once Whitis entered Gibson’s home, he quickly began his sexual assault, Henderson said.

“As he brought her in, he knew what he was going to do to her,” Henderson said, adding that once the assault began, “There was no one to hear her scream. There was no one to hear her cries.”

He said the brutal assault left Whitis with bite marks and evidence that Gibson had sexually assaulted her.

The next day, with Whitis’ body in the home’s attached garage, Henderson said Gibson cut off her breast as “a trophy” before he went for lunch at Hooters in Whitis’ vehicle.

While Gibson was away from the home, one of his sisters came to the house, found the remains in the garage and called authorities.

Gibson was located driving Whitis’ minivan and he was apprehended at the Grant Line Road Walmart. Her right breast was found in the console area of the vehicle.

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Theater students rehearse a scene from "Seussical the Musical," directed by Silver Creek Theater Director, Alonzo Richmond, and New Albany Theater Director Amy Harpenau at the New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater Thursday evening. The musical includes around 70 students from 12 local schools that will be performing Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.

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