Father wants 2nd death sentence for Indiana man

(WTHI Photo, file)
(WTHI Photo, file)

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (AP) — A slain woman’s father wants a second death sentence for the southern Indiana man who admitted killing her and burying her body.

A Floyd County judge set an Aug. 15 sentencing hearing for William Clyde Gibson III after four days of testimony ended Thursday on what penalty he should face for the strangulation death of 35-year-old Stephanie Kirk of Charlestown.

Gibson pleaded guilty in June to a murder charge in the death of Kirk, whose remains were found buried behind Gibson’s New Albany home in 2012.

Gibson has already been given the death penalty for killing a 75-year-old family friend in 2012 and a 65-year sentence for the 2002 stabbing death of a 44-year-old woman.

Tony Kirk told reporters after Thursday’s court session that he believes Gibson deserves execution for killing his daughter, leaving his granddaughter without a mother.

“Personally, I think he should die for what he did,” Kirk said. “He took my daughter’s life.”

Defense attorney Patrick Biggs argued a second death sentence for Gibson is unnecessary and cited his history of alcoholism and bipolar disorder. Biggs said another death sentence “amounts to revenge killings.”

Testimony about Kirk’s death included graphic photos and details of how Gibson sexually abused and mutilated Kirk’s body before burying it. A neighbor testified Thursday about seeing Gibson digging a hole in his backyard, presumably to bury Kirk.

Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson urged Judge Susan Orth to give Gibson a death sentence for killing Kirk, calling him one of “the worst of the worst” criminals in Indiana history.

“If this defendant does not deserve the death penalty, then there is no one that deserves the death penalty,” Henderson said.

Gibson’s arrest in the death of 75-year-old Christine Whitis, who was his late mother’s best friend, led to the discovery of Kirk’s remains eight days later in the city just north of Louisville, Kentucky. Authorities later charged him with killing Karen Hodella, 44, of Port Orange, Florida, whose body was found in 2002 near the Ohio River in Clarksville.

Indiana’s last execution was in December 2009, when Matthew Eric Wrinkles was put to death for the 1994 slayings of his wife, her brother and a sister-in-law in Evansville.

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