Sunday, June 25, 2000

West Chester man shot nine times in home

Police don't expect to solve homicide quickly

By Walt Schaefer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        UNION TOWNSHIP — Police in this Butler County community said Saturday that a Procter & Gamble researcher found dead in his home was shot seven times in the head and twice in the chest with a small-caliber gun.

(Ernest Coleman photos)
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        The body of George Gibson, 47, a veterinarian, was found at his home by police who responded at 12:32 p.m. Friday. Two pet Bernese mountain dogs also had been shot to death.

        Mr. Gibson lived in a modest, two-story cedar home at the end of a gravel lane off Tylersville Road in the Maud area between Interstate 75 and Cincinnati-Dayton Road, 22 miles north of Cincinnati.

        Police went to the home after receiving a call from a P&G employee who said Mr. Gibson had not reported for work Friday morning at the company's Miami Valley Laboratories in Colerain Township.

        Police said the victim's wife, Paige Smith, also a P&G veterinarian, was in New York on Friday. She was brought to the scene by detectives Saturday afternoon to walk through the house and grounds to help determine whether anything was missing or appeared unusual. She flew back from New York on Friday night after being notified of her husband's death.

        Police said the couple have no children.

[photo] Paige Smith arrives at her home with West Chester Police Detective Mike Quinn
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        The suburban home backs into woods. A basketball backboard and hoop and well-tended garden sit along the asphalt driveway.

        The Rev. Wallace Marshall, retired pastor of the West Chester Wesleyan Church, lives at the corner of Tylersville Road and the gravel lane. He said Mr. Gibson and his wife attended Sunday services at the church, which was within walking distance of their home.

        “They're very quiet people,” he said. “At Christmas, we'd exchange cards or little gifts, but I did not know them really well. If I was outside working on my car or something, they'd stop and talk.”

        “We are not going to discuss suspects. We have no suspects,” Assistant Police Chief Capt. John Bruce said. “We spent 10 hours collecting evidence Friday and we have a lot of evidence to sift through.

        “We are trying to protect all the evidence we can at this point. I wish I was more comfortable with this. There are cases where I've said we'd have (an arrest) in 24 hours. I can't say that about this one.”

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        Capt. Bruce discounted a broadcast report that a neighbor may have heard related gunshots Wednesday. P&G security records show Mr. Gibson reported for work Thursday.

        Police also released a broad time frame for the shooting — between the time when Mr. Gibson left work at about 5 p.m. Thursday and when his body was discovered by officers Friday.

        Mr. Gibson and his wife worked at Procter & Gamble's Woods Corners facility in Norwich, N.Y., a pharmaceutical research center, before being transferred to this area, said Sue Dietrich, a spokeswoman for the facility. He worked there for at least 10 years, she said. Police said the couple have lived here about two years.

        Mr. Gibson was a scientist in the drug assessment safety organization. His wife is a scientist at the health care research center, said Linda Ulrey, P&G spokeswoman.

        Capt. Bruce declined to say where in the house Mr. Gibson's body was found.

        Police are investigating a possible break-in in a recreation room. He also declined to say whether one or more than one person appeared to have killed Mr. Gibson. Ernest Coleman


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