Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Possible Serial Killer Charged with 3rd Murder; Prosecutors Seek Death Penalty

Prosecutors charged William Clyde Gibson with the murder of 35-year-old Stephanie Kirk, whose body was found buried in Gibson’s backyard last month, on Wednesday. They also announced they would be seeking the death penalty in two of the three murders Gibson is alleged to have committed.

William "Clyde" Gibson. Police photo.

Gibson had previously been charged with killing 44-year-old Karen Hodella in 2002 and 75-year-old Christine Whitis earlier this year. Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson is seeking the death penalty for the killings of Kirk and Whitis. According to Indiana law, defendants can face the death penalty for committing murder during the the commission of another felony or for dismembering a victim. Prosecutors believe Gibson sexually molested Kirk and Whitis before killing them — and that Gibson hacked off one of Whitis’ breasts in his attack. Police found Kirk’s cellphone buried with her in the backyard — a records check revealed several calls were routed through a cell tower near Gibson’s home on March 25, the last day she was seen alive.

Previously-sealed court testimony released Thursday provided sensational new details of the case against Gibson. The 57-year-old Indiana man allegedly killed Hodella on his 45th birthday — and commemorated the murder with a tattoo of a knife on his right arm with the date “10-10-02″. Testimony also disclosed that Whitis was a family friend and it was Gibson’s sisters who found Whits’ corpse in Gibson’s late mother’s home on April 19. Gibson was arrested later that day. Investigators said Gibson eventually confessed to all three murders, and was able to lead police to the area near the Ohio River where Hodella’s body was found in 2003.

As recently as last week, investigators had conducted additional searches of Gibson’s backyard and a remote cornfield for evidence of further crimes, but found nothing. Henderson told reporters he doesn’t expect any further murder charges against Gibson, but didn’t rule out the possibility.

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