According to the Peoria Police Department, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has charged two teenagers, sixteen-year-old Steven Gibson Jr. and sixteen-year-old Erik McBee, with first-degree murder in connection with the death of Steven Gibson Sr., Steven Gibson Jr.’s father. Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Spokesman Jerry Cobb said the boys have been charged as adults. According to Mr. Cobb, “the decision was based on the age of the defendants and the seriousness of the crime.”
According to Peoria Police, Forty-one-year-old Michelle Gibson, the victim’s wife, has also been charged with first-degree murder.
According to Police, on March 1st, Michelle Gibson contacted the Police and told them she found her husband dead in the garage of their home near 75th Avenue and Thunderbird Road.
Officers believe that Ms. Gibson, her daughter and her son, Steve Gibson Jr., left the home at approximately 10:30 p.m. to go shopping. According to Police, after everyone else left, Mr. McBee who remained at the home, entered the victim’s room and beat the victim repeatedly with a bat. Police believe that Mr. McBee then cut Mr. Gibson Sr.’s throat with a knife.
After speaking with Mr. McBee, Police believe Steven Gibson Jr. then returned to his home and stabbed his father multiple times.
The boys, according to Police, then moved the victim’s body to the garage planning to relocate the body to a park to give the appearance of a drug-related crime. Police said, however, that Mr. McBee reportedly heard sirens and fled the home leaving Steven Gibson Jr. and Ms. Gibson there to clean up the evidence. Ms. Gibson then reportedly called 911 to report her husband’s death.
Police said that Ms. Gibson and her son initially told them no one was home at the time of Mr. Gibson’s death. However, Mr. McBee and another teenager later came forward to Police about the crime. Officers then examined cell phone records that Police believe are evidence that multiple people were involved in Mr. Gibson’s death.
Police believe Ms. Gibson, her son, Mr. McBee and another teenager plotted to kill the victim because they believed he was a danger to them.
According to Police, three others have been identified for their involvement in the crime but Police have not yet made any other arrests.
Although most juveniles are tried in Juvenile Court, under certain circumstances, juveniles may be direct filed or transferred to adult court for conviction and sentencing. There are five circumstances under which a juvenile will be tried as an adult:
(1) A juvenile of the age 15, 16 or 17 who has committed certain violent crimes will be tried as an adult;
(2) A juvenile who was previously convicted in adult court will be tried in adult court for any additional probation violations or crimes;
(3) A juvenile of the age 15, 16 or 17 with two prior felony adjudications in juvenile court will be tried as an adult if arrested for a third felony;
(4) A juvenile, age 14, who is considered a chronic offender will be tried as an adult;
(5) A juvenile, age 14 or older, who has committed one of certain specific offenses, will be tried as an adult.
A juvenile who does not fit within one of the above categories may still be transferred to adult court. Specifically, the county attorney, depending on the juvenile’s record and the severity of the offense, may request a transfer.
In 2000, 767 juveniles were tried in adult court in Arizona. Of these juveniles, 19.29% were transferred to adult court, 39% were mandatory files in adult court, 10.5% were tried in adult court as chronic offenders and 31% were filed in adult court at the discretion of the county attorney.
If your child has been arrested for a serious offense, contact the juvenile lawyers at Oracle Law Group The Phoenix juvenile crime attorneys at Oracle Law Group understand Arizona juvenile crime law and will fight hard to protect your juvenile’s rights.