|For Immediate Release
March 9, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
ORANGE COUNTY DITRICT ATTORNEY TO SEEK THE DEATH PENALTY AGAINST MICHIGAN PRISONER FOR THE BRUTAL SEXUAL ASSAULT-MURDER OF A YOUNG PREGNANT WIFE IN 1988
SANTA ANA – Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas announced today that he is seeking the death penalty against a Michigan prisoner charged with the brutal sexual assault murder of a 22-year-old pregnant wife in her home 21 years ago. Jason Balcom, 38, who was serving a 30 to 50-year prison sentence for a rape in Michigan at the time this case was solved, is charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder during the commission of a robbery, rape, sodomy, and burglary. Balcom will be in court for a pre-trial hearing at 9:00 a.m. on April 3, 2009, in Department C-45, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. He is ineligible for bail as this is a capital case and he is serving his sentence for the Michigan rape.
On July 18, 1988, Malinda Gibbons was unpacking after recently moving into their new apartment, located at 2404 Harbor Boulevard in Costa Mesa, with her husband. Kent Gibbons, the victim’s husband, who had left for work in the morning and returned home at approximately 6:15 p.m., found his wife brutally murdered.
At the time of the murder, Balcom is accused of living with his mother and aunt at the Ha Penny Inn at 2277 Harbor Boulevard in Costa Mesa, which is located on the same street a quarter of a mile south of the Gibbons’ residence. Balcom is accused of gagging Malinda Gibbons, binding her hands and feet using Kent Gibbons’ ties, raping and sodomizing her, and leaving her pants down around her ankles. He is also accused of stabbing the victim in the left chest area. Melinda Gibbons was 4 to 6 weeks pregnant. The defendant is accused of forcibly taking her wedding ring. The defendant is accused of leaving his DNA in the form of semen on the carpet, on the victim’s thigh, and in her anus.
DNA testing was not available in 1988. In 1999, a DNA test was conducted on a carpet stain and an anal swab recovered from Malinda Gibbons. The suspect’s DNA profile was uploaded into the national database. In 2004, the defendant’s DNA was swabbed while in Michigan on that rape case. On April 16, 2004, the defendant’s DNA was linked to the crime.
Assistant District Attorney Marc Rozenberg is prosecuting this case.