LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - A Shoals man facing murder charges has been cleared of the crime.
The Lauderdale County Grand Jury did not indict Raymond Gibson for the stabbing death of his ex-girlfriend.
After reviewing the evidence from the Brush Creek campground, prosecutors say they were convinced Gibson stabbed the mother of his child on purpose.
“We presented the state’s evidence, called the investigator to give an overview of the case then we actually called witnesses who were there that night,” said Lauderdale County District Attorney, Chris Connolly. “They also heard from the victim's mother.”
The state offered more than six hours of testimony to the grand jury on the basis that Gibson killed Savanna Brooke Parrish during a fight.
However, attorneys for Raymond Gibson say their client acted in self-defense.
“We knew it was a tough case, and we knew the grand jury struggled with it, we obviously, those are secret proceedings so we don't have the luxury of talking to the grand jury and find out why they did what they did,” said Connolly.
The grand jury first heard the case in November then reviewed the facts again in January, before returning a verdict.
According to the District Attorney, he was prepared and willing to try this case to the fullest extent of the law, hoping for a murder conviction in order to bring justice to the victim's family.
Prosecutors tried to contact Parrish’s family members, but could not be reached. The district attorney sent notice of the decision in the mail.
“I certainly respect the grand jurors' decision because they carefully considered a lot of evidence in the case and voted their conscious,” said Connolly about the final decision.
As this case proceeded through the legal system, Gibson pleaded guilty to unrelated burglary charges and was sentenced to five years in prison. Because of that conviction, Gibson remains behind bars for the next five years even after this "no bill" by the grand jury.
In November, Gibson escaped work release. Just hours after the escape, Gibson returned to custody on his own behalf.