02/23/2001

New Orleans man gets life in prison in officer's death
[FOREST CITY, AR]

February 21, 2001, Wednesday, Final Edition
Copyright 2001 The Commercial Appeal
The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
February 21, 2001, Wednesday, Final Edition

(FORREST CITY, Ark.) -- A New Orleans man charged with capital murder in the death of a Forrest City policeman pleaded guilty Tuesday to a lesser charge of first-degree murder.

Jeffrey B. Gibson, 25, appeared before St. Francis County Circuit Court Judge L. T. Simes. Under the plea agreement, Simes sentenced Gibson to life in prison. The sentences for capital murder are execution and life in prison without parole.

Gibson was charged in the shooting death of Lewis Jones, 33. Jones was shot early on the morning of June 4 while he was moonlighting as a security guard at the Players Palace nightclub. Earlier, he and two other off-duty officers had broken up a fight on the dance floor and ejected some patrons, including Gibson.

The shooting occurred on the parking lot of the nightclub.

During his court appearance, Gibson apologized to members of Jones's family in the courtroom.

After the sentence was announced, Gibson met privately with Jones's family and with the attorneys for both sides. At that time, he again apologized to Jones's mother. The woman shook Gibson's hand and urged him to pray.

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