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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ind. Courts - "Second Gibson murder trial set to go June 16"

Updating earlier ILB entries about murder defendant William Clyde Gibson, including several about his head tattoo, reading “Death Row X3,” Grace Schneider of the Louisville Courier-Journal reported yesterday afternoon:

New Albany’s William Clyde Gibson will face a second capital murder trial — this one in the death of Stephanie Kirk — starting June 16 in Floyd Superior Court.

Jury selection will begin June 2 before heading into a one- to two-week trial beginning in mid-June, Judge Susan Orth and the parties agreed at a final pre-trail hearing Wednesday.

To choose a jury untainted by pre-trial publicity, the judge, prosecutors, defense lawyers and Gibson will go to Vanderburgh County next month to select 12 jurors and four alternates who will be transported to New Albany and housed in the area during the proceedings. * * *

Last month, he was sentenced to 65 years in Hodella’s murder after accepting a deal to plead guilty. Gibson is accused of strangling the 35-year-old Kirk, then burying her body in his yard. His lawyers motioned to limit the crime scene photos, particularly those that are gory and bloody, as they did before last year’s trial.

Steve Owen, Floyd’s chief deputy prosecutor, told Orth the Kirk photos are far less graphic and bloody than those presented during the Whitis trial, but the state needs an opportunity to introduce evidence and explain to the jury what happened to Kirk. Her father and another relative attended the hearing and left without comment.

Another issue Wednesday centered on a new tattoo on the back of Gibson’s shaved head that reads “death row X 3” in thick, dark ink. Worried that jurors might see the reference to other murders, which is inadmissible during the trial, Orth ordered earlier this year that Gibson not be given haircuts.

She also said that she has considered having the hair now covering the tattoo dyed a dark brown in order to ensure that there’s no way jurors or prospective jurors see it. Through his lawyers, Gibson requested to have his head shaved and cover the tattoo with makeup, which Orth was not inclined to allow.

“If it didn’t refer to the two other murders, I wouldn’t be concerned,” Orth said, adding that she will respond to pending motions, including a request to dismiss the death penalty, in the next week or so to keep the proceedings on track.

WHAS11, Louisville, has a story with video.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 22, 2014 10:37 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts