|For Immediate Release
Case # 07ZF0005
March 2, 2012
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
MAN LINKED THROUGH DNA FACES TRIAL FOR 1988 COLD CASE
SEXUAL ASSAULT-MURDER OF YOUNG PREGNANT NEWLYWED IN 1988
SANTA ANA – A man faces trial Monday for the 1988 cold case sexual assault-murder of a pregnant 22-year-old newlywed after being linked to the crime through DNA. Jason Balcom, 41, is charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder in the commission of a rape, sodomy, robbery, and burglary. The District Attorney is seeking the death penalty in this case. Opening statements are expected to begin Monday morning, March 5, 2012, in Department C-45, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.
In July 1988, 22-year-old Malinda Gibbons and her husband Kent Gibbons moved to Costa Mesa from Utah. On the morning of July 18, 1988, Kent Gibbons left for work and Malinda Gibbons, who was between four and six weeks pregnant, stayed home to unpack in their new apartment.
While Malinda Gibbons was home alone, Balcom is accused of entering her apartment and binding the victim’s hands and feet using Kent Gibbons’ neck ties. He is accused of raping and sodomizing Malinda Gibbons and then murdering her by stabbing her in the chest. Balcom is accused of stealing the victim’s purse and wedding ring from her finger and fleeing the scene.
At the time of the murder, Balcom is accused of living with his mother and aunt on the same street as the Gibbons only a quarter of a mile south of their home.
Kent Gibbons returned home from work to find his wife brutally murdered with her pants down around her ankles. The Costa Mesa Police Department investigated this case and collected evidence from the scene, including semen on the carpet, the victim’s thigh, and in her anus. The case went cold.
In 1999, a DNA test was conducted on a carpet stain and an anal swab recovered from Malinda Gibbons using DNA technology not available in 1988. The suspect’s DNA profile was uploaded into the national database.
In 2004, Balcom’s DNA was entered into the national database as a result of a rape conviction in Michigan. On April 16, 2004, Balcom is accused of being linked to the murder of Malinda Gibbons through DNA evidence. The defendant was transported to face charges in Orange County from Michigan, where he is serving a 30 to 50-year prison sentence for that rape in Michigan.
Senior Assistant District Attorney Matt Murphy of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.