NEW ALBANY, In (WDRB) -- The jury in the William Clyde Gibson case sentenced the accused serial killer to death for the murder of 75-year-old Christine Whitis.
WDRB was there as the judge read the sentence in the New Albany courtroom Tuesday afternoon.
Whitis' family let out a sigh of relief when they heard 'death penalty' come from the judge's mouth.
"It's been the most difficult thing I've ever faced," Mike Whitis, Christine Whitis' son, told WDRB soon after the verdict.
When he left the courtroom, Mike Whitis talked to media on the record for the first time since William Clyde Gibson's capital murder trial began.
He's been present since day one, also testifying as a witness.
"The very first day I had to get up and leave the courtroom. I just couldn't deal with the emotion," he said.
Prosecutors are calling this trial one of the most gruesome they've ever been a part of.
"As I asked the jury in the closing, if this isn't a death penalty case, then what is?" said Keith Henderson.
Last week, Gibson was found guilty for murdering Christine Whitis, his late mother's best friend, in April of 2012.
Prosecutors say Gibson sexually assaulted and tortured Whitis before strangling her.
Prosecutor Keith Henderson says it was difficult to look at and present to the jury some of the horrific crime scene photos.
He says Whitis' family deserves closure and that's where the death penalty comes in.
"This is the outcome we thought was appropriate for the crime that was committed. It was difficult for the jury. It's the ultimate penalty," he said.
"Justice I guess has been served. It's not going to bring mom back but it's good to realize that 12 of his peers saw that her life was worth the ultimate punishment," said Mike Whitis.
The jury took less than twenty minutes last week to find Gibson guilty of murder.
It took them all afternoon Tuesday to deliberate the death penalty sentence.
"I didn't think we'd gotten it. I thought the deliberation went a little longer than what I thought it was going to for this case and I was kind of surprised," said Whitis.
Whitis' family says it's been extremely hard to sit in the same courtroom as William Clyde Gibson.
They believe the death penalty serves as justice for their loved one.
"He's a plague on society and I'm glad he's gonna go away," concluded Whitis.
The defense has remained quiet, not commenting to press about the case.
Gibson is also accused of killing 53-yearyold Karen Hodella in 2002 and 35-year-old Stephanie Kirk in 2012.
Gibson will face separate trials for those murders.
Copyright 2013 WDRB News. All rights reserved.
624 W. Muhammad Ali BlvdLouisville, KY 40203