File photo of a jail cell
Hide Caption

Jury needs 17 minutes to convict Indiana man of murdering mother's 75-year-old best friend

a a a a
Share this story

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (AP) -- A jury that took less than 20 minutes Friday to find a southern Indiana man guilty of murder in the death of his late mother's 75-year-old best friend will now decide whether he should face the death penalty.

The jury of eight women and four men was out 17 minutes Friday afternoon before announcing it had found William Clyde Gibson guilty of murder in the death of 75-year-old Christine Whitis, The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Ky., reported (HTTP://CJKY.IT/17JMVXO ). Prosecutors say he lured Whitis to his New Albany home to perform "a perverse sexual fantasy."

Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson said after the guilty verdict was announced that he's confident jurors will sentence Gibson to death when they convene Monday for the sentencing phase.

"I think the evidence is there," he said.

Defense attorneys have said they won't comment until the trial is over.

Henderson said Whitis' slaying is probably the most disturbing he's ever seen, saying he tried to minimize the gruesome details, including some information about the body mutilation. "So even with the minimal amount that was presented, very disturbing, very gruesome, very difficult," he said.

Henderson said Gibson continued to assault the body even after Whitis was dead.

Gibson also is accused of strangling a 35-year-old Stephanie Kirk, whose remains were found buried in his backyard last year days after his arrest, and in the 2002 stabbing death of Karen Hodella, 44, of Port Orange, Fla. He's to be tried separately in those slayings and also faces the death penalty in Kirk's death.

Before closing arguments Friday, the defense recalled one prosecution witness and called no new witnesses.

The jury of eight women and four men was brought in from Dearborn County, about 100 miles northeast of New Albany, because of extensive media coverage.

---

Information from: The Courier-Journal, HTTP://WWW.COURIER-JOURNAL.COM

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Print this article

Comments

Hmm... It looks like you’re not a WCPO Insider. or Subscribe now to contribute!

More Crime & Justice
Tri-State briefs: April 23, 2014
Tri-State briefs: April 23, 2014

A wrap-up of local stories happening Wednesday, April 23, 2014.

Man sells remaining horses after 49 found dead
Man sells remaining horses after 49 found dead

A Pendleton County man facing charges of animal abuse removed all horses from his property this week.

Steubenville coach gets jail in rape case
Steubenville coach gets jail in rape case

A volunteer football coach whose house was the scene of a party that preceded the rape of a girl by two high school football players has…

Man in deadly hit-and-run pleads not guilty
Man in deadly hit-and-run pleads not guilty

A man accused of running over and killing a woman in Butler County over the weekend pleaded not guilty Tuesday.

Judge to rule this week on coroner's suspension
Judge to rule this week on coroner's suspension

After a three-hour hearing Tuesday, a judge said he will decide before the end of the week whether the Brown County Coroner should be…

Former supt. to serve two years for embezzlement
Former supt. to serve two years for embezzlement

A former superintendent of Dayton Independent Schools was sentenced to two years in prison Tuesday for embezzling hundreds of thousands of…

3 suspects sought in fatal Hartwell shooting
3 suspects sought in fatal Hartwell shooting

A man is dead after he was shot in the back at a residence in Hartwell early Tuesday.

Court Docket: April 22, 2014
Court Docket: April 22, 2014

A look at those due in court April 22, 2014.

Driver sentenced for deadly Colerain Twp. crash
Driver sentenced for deadly Colerain Twp. crash

A driver who pleaded guilty in a deadly Colerain Township crash went before a judge Tuesday to learn his sentence.

Tri-State briefs: April 22, 2014
Tri-State briefs: April 22, 2014

A wrap-up of local stories happening Tuesday, April 22, 2014.