Court date set for murder suspect

DAVE FOPAY JG-TC Staff Writer | Posted: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 7:00 pm

CHARLESTON -- A Monday court date has been scheduled for the man accused of shooting and killing a woman at her Charleston home Monday morning.

The suspect, Larry A. Steeples, served prison time earlier for a conviction for another incident domestic violence involving another woman, and was involved in at least five incidents since November with Gina L. Giberson, the woman he's accused of killing.

Authorities say Steeples shot Giberson multiple times at her home at 207 E. Vine Ave. Monday and she died later that morning at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center.

Steeples, 52, whose address on record is 207 Jackson Ave., Charleston, is scheduled for his first court appearance on Monday on the first-degree murder charges against him, Coles County State's Attorney Brian Bower said Tuesday.

Bower said there's no record or contact yet from an attorney indicating plans to represent Steeples in the case. Monday's court appearance will likely be when Steeples tells a judge if he plans to hire an attorney or ask for one to be appointed to his case.

A conviction for first-degree murder requires prison time and any sentence imposed is automatically increased by 25 years when a firearm is used. The sentencing range for Steeples if he's convicted would be 45 years to life.

No new information about Giberson's death and Steeples' arrest was available Tuesday, as Bower and Charleston police Deputy Chief Dave Chambers both declined to provide any additional details.

According to information released on Monday, police responded to Giberson's home on the north side of Charleston about 5:40 a.m. Monday and located and arrested Steeples there. Giberson was later pronounced dead at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center and an autopsy showed she died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Steeples' criminal record includes a 2006 conviction for an armed violence offense for which he received a prison sentence. In that case, he was accused of hitting a woman, holding a knife to her throat and preventing her from leaving the location in Ashmore where the incident took place.

Steeples also pleaded guilty in February to a charge in a case that accused him of hitting Giberson, and he was then arrested last month on allegations that he struck her again.

Giberson obtained an order of protection against Steeples shortly after that. But the two were then reportedly both at Left's Holler tavern in Charleston and left together after Steeples was in an altercation with another man there on March 30.

Also, in November, police said Giberson backed her truck into Steeples during an argument. Steeples fell to the ground but refused medical treatment, police said.

Giberson was also the alleged victim in a case in which a man was accused of beating her with a baseball bat at her Charleston home in October 2007. Jason Abernathy was convicted at trial of attacking her and is serving a prison sentence, though his case is now back at the trial court level on post-trial motions.

Abernathy claimed self defense during the trial and there was testimony from defense witnesses that claimed Giberson had a history of violence toward men with whom she’s involved.

Giberson's record includes a 2001 drug offense for which she served prison time but otherwise shows only convictions for traffic offenses.