Sentencing phase for New Albany serial killer continues - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Sentencing phase for New Albany serial killer continues

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NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) -- The sentencing phase of convicted serial killer William Clyde Gibson continued for a second day Tuesday, with members of Gibson's family testifying about his life.

Prosecutors are pushing for the death penalty again for Gibson. 

William Clyde Gibson has always been painted as a monster. He has Death Row X 3 tattooed on his head. On Tuesday, his defense attorneys tried to argue he's not that monster, but instead a man with a very troubled past.

Family members say he has a long history of drinking.

Judge Susan Orth is hearing testimony from both sides as she decides whether or not to sentence Gibson to death for the murder of Stephanie Kirk. For a second day, Kirk's family sat in the same room as the man who admitted to brutally murdering the 35-year-old mother and burying her in a hole in his backyard.

That's why the prosecution and defense are presenting evidence and testimony in court so that she can weigh aggravating and mitigating factors for his sentence.

The state argues he should get the death penalty.

"I've said it all along. This is the worst of the worst," said Floyd Co. Prosecutor Keith Henderson.

Judge Orth heard testimony from witnesses Tuesday, this time called by the Defense. First up was Gibson’s sister. She talked of their father’s drinking and how their other brother committed suicide. She said Gibson started drinking heavily after his time in the service and says things got worse when their mother died in 2012. Floyd County prosecutor, Keith Henderson said he doesn't buy the stories.

Prosecutors got to call their witnesses Monday.

Gibson's sister, Brenda Ray, talked about growing up in a "strict" home. She says their father -- along with other family members -- had a drinking problem, and that she noticed her brother started drinking after he spent time in the military. Ray said the family tried to get him help, but it never worked. She told the court his drinking got worse when their mother died in 2012.

"I haven't seen that pan out, yet it appears to be that he's had a quite normal childhood with two parents that attempted to help him," said Henderson.

Gibson's ex-wife took the stand next. She claimed he tried to hide his drinking problem, but a lack of trust essentially ended their marriage. Prosecutors questioned her about sexual comments Gibson made to her about other women, and whether or not he was drunk and/or under control at the time. A psychologist testified Gibson has chronic alcohol and drug abuse problems and used drugs to put him in a “numb” state.

Evidence presented also included a picture of Gibson with a giant paper mache’ statue found in his New Albany home and the letters he wrote to police detailing how he violently sexually assaulted three women and killed them. 

This is Gibson's third murder case. He has already been convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Christine Whitis, and sentenced to 65 years for the murder of Karen Hodella. In this case, Gibson unexpectedly pleaded guilty to killing Stephanie Kirk during jury selection.

In the letters dated May of 2012, Gibson is remorseful and says he struggles with the guilt he feels, writing: "I was thinking about all the sick things I did. My heart and mind tell me I should get it out in the open...I can only hope that God will forgive me."

Kirk's body was found in the back yard of his New Albany home two years ago. On Monday, prosecutors pointed out that her murder was similar to that of Christine Whitis. The state says both women were strangled, their backs were broken and they sexually assaulted. Gibson was sentenced to death in the Whitis case.

Family members of Whitis and Kirk were also in court Tuesday. This hearing is expected to last a few more days. Then it could be a couple of weeks before the judge announces her decision.

"We're not here to judge humans, we're here to judge actions," Henderson said. "You know there's certain actions in our society that demand certain punishment and that's why we're seeking the death penalty for the acts that he's done."

More witnesses are expected to be called Wednesday. Judge Orth is expected to make her ruling within a few weeks.

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