Man charged in 1999 arson deaths heads for trial

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lulu's picture
Man charged in 1999 arson deaths heads for trial

[="Red"]he is sure going to need some prayers[/]

August 26, 2007

Man charged in 1999 arson deaths heads for trial

By Tommy Witherspoon, Waco Tribune-Herald

Jury selection is set to begin Monday morning in the trial of a Waco man
charged in the 1999 arson deaths of his ex-wife and her 1-year-old daughter.

William Mark Gibson, 30, is charged in Waco's 54th State District Court with
capital murder in the November 1999 deaths of his ex-wife, Janie Rios, and
her daughter, Abbygail.

Janie Rios, 23, had divorced Gibson in July 1999, and their two sons were
not home when Rios and her daughter died in the fire.

Waco Fire Department officials have said the fire at 912 N. 16th St. "was
deliberately set to block the only exit from the apartment."

Gibson is charged in a three-paragraph indictment with committing capital
murder by killing someone during the commission of arson, killing more than
one person in a single transaction and killing a child younger than 6.

Prosecutors Crawford Long and Susan Shafer have elected not to seek the
death penalty if Gibson is convicted of capital murder. Long and Shafer
declined comment about the upcoming trial.

If convicted of capital murder, Gibson, who is represented by Waco attorney
Guy Cox and Georgetown attorney Russ Hunt Jr., faces an automatic life
sentence and must serve a minimum of 40 years before becoming eligible for

"This case is an old case, and there are going to be a lot of witnesses and
there are going to be a lot of stories told," Cox said. "The jury is going
to have to reach a verdict by weeding out all the lies that are going to be

Cox said some antagonism between the families could boil over during the

"Waco is a small town and there is going to be a lot of old wounds reopened
by this trial," he said.

Court documents filed by police in the case indicate Gibson reportedly has
told others he started the fire to "get his older boys and because the
younger girl was getting in between him and Janie."

Retired State District Judge George Allen will preside over Gibson's trial,
which is expected to last about a week. Judge Matt Johnson recused himself
Aug. 16 after Johnson remembered that, as a former prosecutor, he visited
the crime scene with Waco Fire Marshal Jerry Hawk days after the fire.


Source : Waco Tribune-Herald

Edited by: lulu on Apr 11 2008 - 1:21pm Reason: Imported from old database.
BelindaRios's picture

Mark doesn't deserve anyone prayers. Janie did and her 18 month old daughter did. But i will tell you who to pray for now. Her 2 sons 10 yrs old and 12 yrs old. They have lost there mom and Now there idiot of a dad. Pray that our family can get them back after what his family has done to theirs.

whiterose's picture

the 2 sons are going trough a hell i think,they have to miss their mom,younger sister and their dad too,i feel so sorry for both of them.
belinda are you a family member?

whitediamonds's picture

My prayers go with the ex wife and baby Abbygail, also the two boys left to deal with this the rest of their lives.

I hope the father owes up to what he has done and finds thru soul searching, just how much damage he has left behind, ways to make the best of himself while inside, not more negative.

BelindaRios's picture

Yes Janie was my cousin and rite now we are trying to adopt the boys. They are still very young and im sure confused. Mark is beyond help but we are trying our best to do what Janie would want us to do. I was shocked when i seen this post on the web. Who and why was this posted for ?

lulu's picture

I posted this article back in 2007.

we place articles here on wap for those that are interested in prison issues.

we here write to those lockup, some even have family in prison as well.

Many assume that because we either support our loved one or want to befreind an inmate that we have no feelings for the victims. This is not the case at all.

I will be praying for the boys and your family.

whiterose's picture

belinda i do wish you ,your family ,and the two boys all the best in the world.
i hope they can give it a place someday what has happent.


jman393's picture

Was this piece of shit William Mark Gibson convicted and sentenced to life?