Accused serial killer trial will begin Monday

Published: Oct. 19, 2013 at 4:17 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 21, 2013 at 10:37 AM EDT
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NEW ALBANY, IN (WAVE) - The capital murder trial of an accused serial killer in Southern Indiana is set to begin. 

Opening statements will start Monday in Floyd County. William Clyde Gibson, 54, is charged with killing three women over the course of a decade.

Gibson is first on trial for the April 2012 murder of Christine Whitis, 75, of Clarksville and if convicted could face the death penalty. Back in August, it was ruled Gibson is competent to stand trial.

In addition to the murder of Whitis, Gibson is accused of murdering Stephanie Kirk, 35, of Charlestown, Indiana, in 2012, and Karen Hodella, 45, of Port Orange, Florida, in 2002.

Because of pre-trial publicity, prosecutors and defense attorneys completed jury selection last month in Dearborn County near Cincinnati. The jury was picked from a pool of 500 and will be brought to New Albany and sequestered during the trial.

On April 19, 2012, Whitis' body was found inside Gibson's garage on Woodbourne Drive in New Albany. That's when the case against Gibson started unraveling. Whitis was Gibson's mother's long time friend.

Gibson was arrested later that day at the Wal-Mart on Grant Line Road in New Albany. He was originally charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated and resisting arrest.

Gibson is accused of sexually assaulting Whitis and Prosecutor Keith Henderson says he then dismembered her body by cutting of her breast. Police believe Whitis was strangled.

One week later Kirk was discovered buried in Gibson's backyard.

After his arrest for that murder, police say Gibson also confessed to killing Hodella in 2002. A few days later, he was charged with murdering Kirk who had been missing for more than a month. Her body was discovered buried in Gibson's back yard.

Police say while Gibson admitted to using his hands to strangle Kirk and told them he did it for pleasure, he told them to search for her body in two incorrect locations before leading them to his own backyard where her body was dug up along with her cell phone.

A detective testified during a pre-trial hearing that Gibson led them directly to the location where Hodella's body was found in 2003, telling them he stabbed her. Police told a judge Gibson had a tattoo of a knife and the date of 10-10-02. Gibson told police that was the day he killed Hodella. It is also the same date as his birthday.

Back in 1991, Gibson was put on the sex offender registry after he was caught attacking a woman in downtown Louisville.

Gibson will be represented by public defense attorney Patrick Biggs and his team. Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson and chief deputy prosecutor Steve Owen will represent the state. The trial will take place in Judge Susan Orth's courtroom at the Floyd County Government Building in New Albany.

The first trial is expected to last around three weeks. WAVE 3 News Reporter Katie Bauer will be in the courtroom every day. You can keep up with the trial by following her on Twitter @wave3katie.

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