The sentencing hearing for an admitted serial killer is underway in Indiana. William Clyde Gibson pleaded guilty to strangling Stephanie Kirk two and half years ago, before violating and then burying her body in a shallow grave in his yard. He already has been sentenced to death for the murder of another woman, also in 2012, and is serving sixty-five years for a third murder that took place more than a decade ago.
A psychiatrist who testified earlier this week spent time with Gibson in 2012 and diagnosed him with bipolar disorder, personality disorder, an abnormal sense of reality, and multiple substance abuse issues. The Floyd County prosecutor, Keith Henderson, notes that despite these clear psychological issues, there is no evidence of a problem with mental competence. Therefore, and because of the aggravating factors involved in this gruesome homicide, the death penalty needs to remain an option.
Telling of his mental state and proudly displaying his guilty, Gibson displayed a tattoo on his head that he somehow managed to get while in prison. Scrawled in large letters are the words “Death Row x 3.” This week’s hearing is the first time that the ink has been visible to the public, as he was ordered not to cut his hair out of concern for prejudice when it was thought a jury may be deciding his guilt or innocence.
To me, this tattoo is a perfect example of the bravado and ego that we often see in serial killers. Their sense of self is perversely inflated and they seem to take pleasure in advertising the horror they inflicted on others.
Judge Susan Orth is expected to make her decision regarding Gibson’s sentencing fate in mid-August.
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