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Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Ind. courts - Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson and possible serial murder case [Corrected]

Tara Schmelz of the New Albany News & Tribune reported last Friday that a third body had been found "in the backyard of a New Albany man recently charged in two murders." More:

William Clyde Gibson, 54, was charged in Floyd County on Tuesday with the week-old death of 75-year-old family friend Christine Whitis and the 2002 death of Karen Hodella, 45, of Jeffersonville.

Detectives began searching Gibson’s backyard around 2 p.m. Friday. Shortly before 10:30 p.m., Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson confirmed officials had found human remains buried in the backyard of Gibson’s home on Woodbourne Drive near University Woods apartments.

Henderson said the remains appear to be that of “at least one individual” but wouldn’t speculate on the possibility of more victims. He said the remains appear to be weeks to months old — at the most.

When asked if Gibson could be a serial killer, Henderson said people need to be careful before using labels.

“The fact is it is a serious matter. We do have three individuals at this point,” Henderson said. Henderson said he could not speculate how the third victim died but hopes to release the victim’s identity Saturday.

Today Harold J. Adams of the Louisville Courier Journal has a nationally syndicated story headed "Floyd prosecutor: It's too soon to accuse New Albany man of being a serial killer." Some quotes:
The Floyd County (Ind.) prosecutor’s office is not ready to accuse William Clyde Gibson of being a serial killer — although the fact that he is already charged with two unrelated murders fits the definition, prosecutor Keith Henderson said.

Henderson also said he was not ready yet to charge Gibson in connection with a third body that was found Friday night buried in his backyard on Woodbourne Drive in New Albany. * * *

Henderson said he asked a Floyd County judge to seal the recording of last week’s hearing in which Gibson was charged with the two murders to protect the ongoing investigation.

The prosecutor was asked whether that meant investigators are looking into the possibility that Gibson may have killed more women. “To the extent that there is information that could lead to eventually other crimes being charged or ... other victims, it’s important that the integrity of the investigation ... stay intact,” he answered. * * *

On Thursday, Floyd Superior Court Judge Susan Orth immediately granted Henderson’s request to seal the recording of the probable-cause proceeding that led to the charges in Whitis’ and Hodella’s murders.

In the hearing — which took the place of a written affidavit that ordinarily accompanies criminal charges in Indiana — Henderson presented Orth with facts supporting the charges. The court audio recording of such a hearing is required to be available to the public just as if it were a paper affidavit.

Orth told a Courier-Journal reporter through a member of her staff last Wednesday, the day before the prosecutor’s request, that she would make the recording available Friday.

Instead, she ordered the next day that the recording be sealed for at least 30 days. “Afterwards the court shall re-examine the issue and determine the necessity of maintaining the confidentiality of said hearing,” Orth’s order says. [Emphasis added by ILB]

Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson was the prosecutor in the first two David Camm trials.

[Corrected at 10:30 AM] From a reliable source: "Henderson was actually only the prosecutor in the second trial. Former Floyd County Prosecuting Attorney Stan Faith was the prosecutor in the first trial."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 1, 2012 08:49 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts