Jury deliberating verdict in murder trial

By Maggie Hockenberry | mhockenberry@wcia.com, Aaron Eades | aeades@wcia.com, Anna Carrera

Published 04/07 2014 11:21AM

Updated 08/07 2015 05:48PM

Latest: 5:03 pm, 8/7/15, Friday

A verdict could be reached soon in a local murder trial. The jury has been deliberating for two hours whether Larry Steeples killed his ex-girlfriend, Gina Giberson, in April, 2014. The jury heard losing arguments Friday afternoon.

Latest: 6:04 pm, 7/30/15, Thursday

A jury heard opening statements Thursday in the Gina Giberson murder trial. Police say Larry Steeples shot his ex-girlfriend five times last year. The jury also began viewing evidence.

Latest: 6:01 pm, 4/7/14, Monday

People in Coles County say they're not surprised to see someone they know behind bars. The part which shocked them is what he's accused of doing.

Police arrested Larry Steeples early Monday morning. He's accused of shooting and killing Gina Giberson.

Neighbors say the pair used to be a couple, but had broken up. They say the relationship was over and Giberson had even filed an emergency order of protection against Steeples.

But, investigators say that didn't stop him from killing her. Neighbors say Gina Giberson and Larry Steeples had a rough relationship. But, that was in the past.

"It was over," said Melody Carver, who was Giberson's neighbor. "It was over. It was completely over. She was scared to death of him."

Scared enough to file an order of protection against him. Neighbors say she had good reason.

"He ain't far from a murderer, but if you make him mad, he'll get back with you," said Terry Carver, who was Giberson's neighbor. "That's the thing with Larry. He won't forget you."

"Last time he broke in, he cut her face all up and a couple days later, we heard he was obsessed with her and he was out bragging that he was never going to let her go," said Melody. "And he didn't. Oh, that poor woman."

Police say Steeples shot Giberson five times. She was taken to the hospital where she died. Investigators spent the day collecting evidence at her home across from North Park.

"It shouldn't have happened, I don't think," said Terry. "But we can't do anything about that."

Neighbors commented on Steeples' criminal history which includes a domestic battery conviction earlier this year. He served 25 days in jail for it and was sentenced to two years probation. Some say, it wasn't enough.

"He should have been sitting in jail," said Melody.

Steeples was also involved in a fight outside a bar last week. He was stabbed and had to be taken to the hospital. Neighbors say the fight started because another man was with Giberson at the bar.

Giberson was a victim of domestic violence in the past. In 2007, her boyfriend at the time, Jason Abernathy, beat her so badly, she was in a coma.

Family and friends held a vigil for her. Abernathy is now serving 20 years in prison for aggravated battery.

Update: 5:01 pm, 4/7/14, Monday

A Coles County man is in police custody after a woman was shot and killed. Investigators say he's the one who pulled the trigger Monday morning.

Neighbors say the pair had a rocky relationship, but it was over. They say Larry Steeples wasn't willing to let her go. Neighbors say his ex-girlfriend was scared of him.

Gina Giberson filed an emergency order of protection against him last month, so he wasn't supposed to be anywhere near her. Investigators say he broke that order and shot her five times.

Giberson was pronounced dead at the hospital about 8 am. Police arrested Steeples on Vine Avenue, which is where Giberson lived.

They closed off the road near her home and spent the day collecting evidence. Neighbors say, when they saw the police tape there, they worried the worst had happened.

Authorities say Steeples was involved in a fight at Lefty's Holler last week when he was stabbed by Lee Conover. Neighbors say the fight happened because Conover brought Giberson to the bar with him.

Those neighbors say the whole thing should never have happened because Steeples should have already been in jail.

Original: 11:21 am, 4/7/14, Monday

Police are investigating a fatal shooting. The coroner says an autopsy is set for Monday for Gina Giberson. 52-year old Larry Steeples is charged with her murder. His bond is $5 million.

Investigators say Steeples shot Giberson, but no other information has been released.

Authorities say Steeples was also involved in a fight last week outside Lefty's Holler. He was taken to the hospital for a knife wound to his neck.

Officials say 57-year old Lee Conover was involved in the fight. He's wanted on a $25,000 bond for aggravated battery.

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