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Gibson says he wanted relationship with murder victim

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William Clyde Gibson being led to court on October 22 (Source: Pool photo by Scott Utterback, The Courier-Journal) William Clyde Gibson being led to court on October 22 (Source: Pool photo by Scott Utterback, The Courier-Journal)
Christine Whitis (Source: Family photo) Christine Whitis (Source: Family photo)

Produced in partnership with the News and Tribune

In video interview, accused says he doesn't know why he committed crime

BY GARY POPP
gary.popp@newsandtribune.com

NEW ALBANY - Accused serial killer William Gibson III says he wanted to have an intimate relationship with the woman he later confessed to killing and sexually assaulting.

The second day of the William Clyde Gibson III trial began this morning, and the state has now shown the jurors three separate video recordings of New Albany police investigators interviewing Gibson days after his arrest.

Gibson, 56, was accused in 2012 of killing three women, and is now in the midst of a capital trial for the April 2012 death of Christine Whitis, 75, - a woman who has been described as the best friend of Gibson's mother who died in January 2012. During one of the recordings shown today, the jury, made up of Dearborn County residents, watched as New Albany Police Department officer and Floyd County Commissioner Steve Bush questioned Gibson about his relationship with Whitis before her death.

Gibson said he had known the Clarksville woman nearly all his life, and she even babysat him when he was a child. As an adult, Gibson became interested in having an intimate relationship with Whitis, according to his statements during the interview.

"We always talked. I called her my girlfriend," Gibson said, also making it clear Whitis was not interested in pursuing a sexual relationship. "She said, ‘I was old enough to be your mother.'"

While the intricacies of their relationship have not been discussed in court, the two were at least close enough that Whitis would visit Gibson's home when asked, as she did on April 18, 2012 - the day she was murdered.

"We was always real good friends," Gibson told an investigator days after Whitis was found dead in the garage attached to his home. "That's why I don't understand why I did what I done."

Gibson had called Whitis about 10:50 a.m. April 18, and Whitis returned the call minutes after noon. Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson said Whitis arrived at the Woodbourne Drive home about 1 p.m.

Gibson has stated that he told Whitis he was still grieving over his mother's recent death and wanted to talk.

By using the recordings and responses from five New Albany Police Department officers called to testify thus far, the prosecution has illustrated what took place after Whitis came to Gibson's home.

The state claims that Gibson attempted to fondle Whitis' breast soon after she arrived, and when she declined his advance, Gibson became enraged and strangled the woman. Whether Whitis died from the strangulation instantly or during the following hours and additional abuse has not been made certain during the court proceedings.

After Whitis became unconscious, according to Gibson's statements, he partially removed her clothing and touched her genitals.

Gibson told police he then drug her into the home's garage, and once there, he retrieved a knife from the kitchen and severed her right breast, which he then put in the minivan she had driven to his home.

The following day, Gibson left the home in the minivan. While he was away from the home, one of his two sisters stopped by to check the mileage of a vehicle parked in the garage and discovered Whitis' remains and called police.

A second sister arrived at the home before police responded. Both women are expected to testify today.

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