Friend found murder victim in pool of blood


A man stabbed to death more than 13 years ago was found by a horrified friend facedown in a pool of blood, a jury heard yesterday.

Michaelangelo James told a Supreme Court murder trial that he discovered Marcus Gibbings, 32, on the floor inside an apartment on Derwent Lane, Devonshire.

Mr James said: “Once I touched him, I knew he was dead because he was ice cold.

“I also put my hands to his nose to see if I could feel any breath, but there was nothing.

“Once I determined that he was dead — he wasn’t breathing — I immediately went back outside to call 911.”

He added that he and Mr Gibbings were friends and co-workers and that they had planned to get together the night before he found the body on October 26, 2006.

Mr James explained that he had tried to contact Mr Gibbings by phone after he failed to show up for work that morning.

He added that he and another co-worker drove to the apartment, which Mr Gibbings was moving out of, to look for him.

Mr James said: “I noticed that the front door was wide open.”

He walked into the apartment after he called out for Mr Gibbings but did not get a response.

Mr James said: “As I entered through the front door, I could see Marcus laying flat on his tummy.

“I noticed a lot of blood splatter on the kitchen cabinets, the floor, the walls. He was laying in a pool of blood.”

Katrina Burgess, Mr Gibbings’s ex-girlfriend, and her half-brother Cleveland Rogers deny charges of the premeditated murder of Mr Gibbings.

The prosecution said that Mr Gibbings, originally from Trinidad, was lured to the apartment he had shared with Ms Burgess and was stabbed to death by Mr Rogers.

Mr James told jurors that the dining room table and chairs had been thrown around the apartment as if there had been a struggle.

He said that Mr Gibbings was lying on top of a landline phone.

Mr James added: “He had the receiver underneath him like he was trying to make a phone call.”

He said that Mr Gibbings was still in the same clothes as when he had last seen him at work the day before.

Mr James added that he was careful not to disturb anything in the apartment.

But Marc Daniels, for Mr Rogers, suggested to Mr James that his main concern had been to check on Mr Gibbings rather than to preserve the scene.

He said: “You weren’t that focused on tiptoeing around blood as you were about getting to your friend and trying to check his vitals.”

Mr James agreed.

Mr Daniels said that to check Mr Gibbings’s pulse and if he was breathing, Mr James would have had to “reach over the body to some degree”.

He added: “At this stage your focus was on conducting that assessment as opposed to whether your feet were touching the blood or not.”

Mr James said that was untrue.

He added: “I made sure that I did not step in the blood that was around the body.”

Mr Daniels also highlighted Mr James’s evidence about how he had looked at a knife block inside the apartment after he discovered Mr Gibbings.

He said: “It’s almost like you’re playing detective — you’re trying to figure out what happened, what’s going on.”

Mr James responded: “That’s a good friend of mine.

“I’m trying to figure out what happened.”

Mr James said that he could not say for sure whether the telephone that Mr Gibbings was lying on had been in service.

The trial continues.

It is /The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. This is to prevent any statements being published that may jeopardise the outcome of that case.

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