William Clyde Gibson appeals death sentence to Indiana Supreme Court
The attorney for a southern Indiana man convicted of killing three women says his death sentence should be thrown out because the judge didn't sufficiently consider the importance of his confession.
INDIANAPOLIS (WDRB) – Convicted serial killer William Clyde Gibson is appealing one of his death sentences.
Gibson has been convicted of killing three women: Karen Hodella, Stephanie Kirk and family friend Christine Whitis.
He was sentenced to death for killing Whitis and Kirk, and 65 years for Hodella's murder. He confessed to killing Kirk.
Gibson's attorney, Laura Paul, says his death sentence is too harsh, and should be thrown out because the judge didn't sufficiently consider the importance of his confession.
"If he hadn't confessed, no one would have ever known why Stephanie Kirk disappeared, what had happened to her, who had killed her," Paul said. "The community would have thought that her killer was still at large. And Mr. Gibson dispensed with all that, and that was worth more than coffee and cigarettes.
Paul told the court Thursday that Clyde's confession to killing Stephanie Kirk of Charlestown was key to resolving her disappearance. She went missing from a New Albany bar in 2012. Her body was found buried outside Gibson's New Albany home. He not only confessed to killing her, but to having sex with her after she was dead.
Paul argued that the court didn't give enough weight to that confession and that prosecutors violated procedure by adding aggravators at the last minute to increase the chances of Gibson being sentenced to death, and that one of those aggravators - deviate conduct -- doesn't apply to this case because Kirk was already dead when Gibson was having sex with her.
Prosecutors deflected those arguments and ultimately said that Gibson had killed before, which in and of itself, made this a death penalty case.
An attorney for the state argued Gibson's death sentence is proper.
"Surely the death sentence for the defendant here is not inappropriate for taking a woman back to his house, sexually assaulting her, folding her backwards, breaking her back, and then stuffing in a hole -- a deep, narrow hole -- and burying her in his back yard. there's nothing about this defendant's character that would suggest this court should step in," said Prosecutor Andrew Kobe.
"He's not insane," said Tony Kirk, Stephanie Kirk's father, in May 2012. "He's not stupid. He's a cold blooded killer so I don't think someone like that need to be anywhere but put to death."
The Supreme Court in September upheld Gibson's death penalty in the murder of 75-year-old family friend Christine Whitis. He's also been sentenced to 65 years for killing a Karen Hodella, a Florida woman who was visiting Indiana in 2002.
Gibson's appeal applies only to his sentence, not the conviction itself, so the court has three options: it can uphold the death penalty, re-sentence Gibson, or send the case back to Floyd County for re-sentencing.
The court will make its decision at a later date.
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