The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

August 21, 2013

Homicide suspect retains prominent Altoona attorney, begins building defense

— The Tire Hill man accused of fatally stabbing his girlfriend Aug. 6 has lined up a well-known Altoona attorney for his defense.

And while Thomas Dickey says he is still in the earliest stages of trying to “piece together what really happened,” the veteran attorney said he does not believe Demetrius D. Gibson intended to kill 21-year-old Elizabeth Miller that morning.

“A life was lost. It’s very sad that she’s dead,” Dickey said. “But we can’t rush through this without the full story – without leaving any stone unturned.

“From what I’m seeing,” he added, “I just don’t believe Mr. Gibson wanted to commit first-degree murder on this woman.”

Police have charged Gibson with homicide, aggravated assault and other charges stemming from the incident in Moxham.

City investigators say Gibson and Miller had been fighting at their Tire Hill home earlier that morning and arranged to meet at the Dollar Car Wash on Bridge Street.

While in Gibson’s vehicle inside a car wash bay, an argument ensued, one witness told police.

Moments later, Miller screamed for help, saying Gibson stabbed her, prompting the Tire Hill man to leave the scene, police have said.

Miller, stabbed in an artery leading to the heart, suffered major blood loss and died in a Memorial Medical Center operating room, Coroner Dennis Kwiatkowski said.

She was stabbed once, he said.

Police issued a warrant for Gibson’s arrest the same day – and searched for him for more than 10 days before he turned himself in to authorities late Saturday.

Miller’s mother, Barbara Stumph, said her family will not be able to see full closure “until there’s justice for Lizzy.”

“Fortunately, he can’t hurt anybody else now,” Stumph said Monday night, adding she was in disbelief when she first heard Gibson surrendered to police. “He’s off the streets.”

“But we still have a long journey ahead,” she said.

Gibson’s case has been transferred to District Judge Leonard Grecek’s office in Roxbury. A preliminary hearing originally scheduled for this week is being continued to a later date, but one was not set as of Tuesday afternoon, court staff said.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Halfway house inmates can ease back into society

    Prison life can be a time warp.
    When inmates are locked away – for months, years, decades – society moves forward: Technology evolves, major events occur, pop culture changes. From a personal perspective, families and friends live their lives: weddings, funerals, graduations, births, retirements. All the while, criminals bide their time, existing in a regimented world of cement walls and metal bars.
    Almost all of them eventually rejoin society, though.

    April 19, 2014

  • Crime board took aim at house

    Johnstown’s unemployment rate is around 8 percent.
    One-third of the city’s population lives in poverty.
    Burglaries and assaults significantly increased between 2010 and 2012. There is a thriving illegal trade in heroin and prescription drugs.
    Given those conditions, it can be challenging for Johnstown Community Corrections Center residents to find jobs when living in the facility or to avoid falling back into a criminal lifestyle upon their release.

    April 19, 2014

  • Homicides linked to center

    Three homicides that took place in Johnstown last year involved either a suspect or victim who previously resided in the Community Corrections Center.
    Police Chief Craig Foust confirmed the name of one victim, who spent almost two months in the facility on Washington Street during 2007, a time period verified by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

    April 19, 2014

  • bachota Volunteers helping to spruce up community

    Walls and ceilings inside the Cambria County Library look clean and bright with fresh new coats of paint on them.
    The work was recently done by inmates from the Johnstown Community Corrections Center.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • alanna Hartzok targets income disparity

    Alanna Hartzok described herself as being a conservative progressive.
    The Franklin County resident said she is in favor of conserving environmental resources, education opportunities, Social Security and Medicare, while wanting to progressively address wealth inequality, health care and taxation.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Schools rise to leadership challenge

    Forest Hills and Cambria Heights high school students put the spirit of healthy competition toward a good cause and picked up some lessons in leadership along the way.

    April 19, 2014

  • KATEY LADIKA Student’s photos win awards

    A Forest Hills High School junior has captured several awards in a high school arts and writing contest that has identified greats such as Truman Capote and Andy Warhol.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Siehl JIM SIEHL | Music to my ears

    Seldom has $15 produced such a high level of entertainment as it did a few weeks ago when I found myself in the second row just left of center keeping back the tears once again during my third live performance of “Les Miserables.”

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Michele Bender Bye, bye, Easter birdies

    Animals fascinated my mom. Riding the train between Johnstown and Philly, she saw horses, pigs, sheep, cows … a Mattel See ’n Say of farm critters.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Eggert Columnist Photo Travelogue of terror features Johnstown area

    A historic week will surround the venerable Silver Drive-In come the beginning of May.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

Poll

Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads