NEW ALBANY – A southern Indiana man charged with killing three women worked as an informant while in the Army and helped set up the arrests of a sergeant and other soldiers and a German civilian who was selling heroin to GIs, a published report said Saturday.
Military records also show William Clyde Gibson III, 54, of New Albany was court-martialed in 1979 for stealing a $12,500 Mercedes-Benz, going AWOL four times and escaping from confinement, The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Ky., reported, citing records it obtained under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.
Gibson pleaded guilty to the charges, which carried a maximum sentence of six years of hard labor, but was sentenced to only five months at the military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., in part because of his work as an informant and given a bad-conduct discharge.
Gibson is charged with two capital murder counts in the killing of 35-year-old Stephanie Kirk of Charlestown and 75-year-old family friend Christine Whitis. He’s also charged with murder in the 2002 stabbing death of Karen Hodella of Florida.
He could face the death penalty if convicted of killing Kirk and Whitis, who were both sexually assaulted. Not-guilty pleas have been entered on his behalf.
At the request of his lawyer, Floyd Superior Court Judge Susan Orth has ordered Gibson to be examined to see if he is mentally competent to stand trial.
The newspaper said the 143-page file it obtained appeared to contradict Gibson’s statements to prison psychologists over the years that he used copious amounts of illegal drugs while serving in the U.S. Army from 1976 to 1979, when he was assigned to units in Germany.
Gibson’s defense lawyer said at his court-martial that he didn’t use drugs, and Gibson testified that he started working as a confidential informant because members of his unit had “hooked” his girlfriend.
The records show that he started working for Army military police after his first AWOL, when he said he left to help his girlfriend, who had tried to commit suicide.
Gibson, who was 21 at the time, made controlled buys for the Army criminal investigations unit, which resulted in several arrests, the records show. They included a German woman who was convicted for possession of $150,000 to $200,000 worth of heroin.
But an Army prosecutor said several of the cases had to be dismissed because his subsequent absences made him unavailable to testify.
Gibson testified that he left his unit for a week in June 1998 after a fellow soldier told about his being an informant, and later for a month to “get some problems straightened out.”
He said he stole a car after drinking a bottle of wine with a girlfriend, whom he said he took out on a joy ride. The military records indicate that while being taken to an Army jail, Gibson persuaded a sergeant guarding him to let him get out to talk to his girlfriend, who was driving behind them on a scooter. He ran away instead, dodging the sergeant’s bullets, the records show.
Gibson’s Army-appointed lawyer, describing the car theft as an “immaturity type offense” and “something a guy, after a bottle of wine, does with his girl,” urged that Gibson be allowed to remain in the Army.
But the prosecutor noted that the periods in which he was AWOL had grown progressively longer.
“It should be obvious to the Army that he doesn’t like it here and has no respect for authority,” the prosecutor said. “Your honor, give Gibson a bad conduct discharge and a substantial time in confinement and rid the Army of this problem.”