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Prosecutor won't call murder suspect serial killer

An Indiana prosecutor said Monday that he's not ready to accuse a man charged in the deaths of two women of being a serial killer even though the two slayings appear to meet the definition.

William Clyde Gibson, 54, has been charged with murder in the deaths of a 75-year-old family friend found dead April 19 in Gibson's New Albany home and the 2002 death of Florida hairdresser whose body was found near the Ohio River.

Police also are investigating the death of a 35-year-old woman whose body was found Friday in Gibson's backyard.

Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson declined to say at a Monday news conference whether officials expected the investigation to lead to more victims. However, he said he asked a judge to seal the recording of last week's hearing in which Gibson was charged, and the judge agreed Friday.

"To the extent there is information that would lead to other crimes being charged or other victims ... it is important that the integrity of the investigation be protected," Henderson said.

The body of Stephanie Marie Kirk, 35, of Clark County, was found in Gibson's backyard on Friday night. Kirk was last seen March 25, when she left a friend's New Albany home to meet a man at a bar. Gibson has not been charged in her death.

Floyd County Coroner Leslie Knable told The Courier-Journal on Saturday that preliminary autopsy results showed that Kirk had died of strangulation but did not reveal how long she had been dead.

But Erynn McInnis, a spokeswoman for the Floyd County Prosecutor's office, said Monday that Henderson is awaiting a cause of death ruling from medical examiners in Jefferson County, Ky., before deciding whether to charge Gibson in Kirk's death.

"Right now as far as this office is concerned, we don't have an official cause of death at this time," she said.

Gibson was charged last week with one count of murder in the death of Christine Whitis, 75, of Clarksville, who was found strangled in his home on April 19. He was charged the same day with one count of murder in the death of Karen Hodella, a 44-year-old Florida hairdresser whose body was found near the Ohio River in Clarksville in Jan. 7, 2003.

Whitis' sister, Edith Coons, said that Whitis had been best friends with Gibson's mother and that both women had worked as cashiers at Sears.

A message seeking comment was left Monday with J. Patrick Biggs, Gibson's court-appointed public defender.

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Information from: The Courier-Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com

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