More than a year after his arrest, a Canadian County judge has found sufficient cause to try a man accused of killing a Calumet mother and her son.
Special Judge Jack McCurdy on Oct. 2 issued a ruling formally holding Derek Don Posey, now 31, over for trial in connection with the deaths of Amy Gibbins, 22, and her five-year-old son, Bryor Gibbins, in June 2013. The preliminary hearing was delayed several times due to issues with Posey’s defense attorneys, Assistant District Attorney Paul Hesse said recently.
With his ruling, McCurdy set Posey for a formal arraignment in front of District Court Judge Gary Miller on Dec. 16. At that time, Miller is expected to set a trial date in the case.
Preliminary hearings are held to give prosecutors an opportunity to present evidence, after which the judge – in this case McCurdy – determines whether or not there is probable cause to hold the defendant over for trial. In Posey’s case, his court-appointed attorneys have had several issues that delayed the preliminary hearing an unusually long time, Hesse said.
Posey is represented by attorneys with Oklahoma Indigent Defense System. The first man appointed as his legal counsel left OIDS; shortly thereafter, one of the Tulsa man’s new attorneys suffered a heart attack, which held up preparation for the preliminary hearing, Hesse said. Throughout the process, Posey has been advised of his legal rights, and the prosecution has been ready to move forward in the case from the start, the assistant district attorney said.
“It is uncommon not to have a preliminary hearing conducted within a year of the filing of charges, but there have been some uncommon circumstances involving the attorneys appointed to represent Posey,” Hesse said earlier this year.
Investigators said Posey was working in the oil industry near Calumet at the time of the killings. He faces five felony charges; four of those are for first-degree murder, while another relates to “debit card theft,” according to documents posted on Oklahoma State Courts Network. The four murder counts allege alternative theories in the way Amy and Bryor Gibbins were murdered, Hesse said. The murders were discovered after the Gibbins’ Calumet home was set on fire, officials said.
Investigators said Posey took Amy Gibbins’ debit card as he exited her house. Law enforcement personnel said early on in the investigation video of the Tulsa man using that debit card at an area ATM machine was an important part of their investigation.
Posey could face life in prison, life in prison without parole or the death penalty on the first-degree murder charges, while the debit card charge carries up to three years in prison, a $3,000 fine or both. Prosecutors have not yet made a determination concerning the penalty they would pursue against the Tulsa man, Hesse said.
Firefighters first discovered the murder when they found the bodies during the early morning hours of June 16, 2013, when they were called to extinguish what they later determined to be an arson-caused blaze. Calumet Police Chief Brian Huckabee said he requested assistance from Oklahoma State Fire Marshal’s Office in the investigation, which also called in investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agents.
Posey was arrested June 25, 2013, at his Tulsa home. He has been held in Canadian County Jail without bail since that time.
The December arraignment is the next hearing set in the case. Court personnel could not speculate what time next year a trial might be scheduled.