Niagara Gazette

Local News

October 3, 2012

Plea appeal denied


Niagara Gazette — However prosecutors said Gibson had his chance to make his case and decided instead to take their deal for his role in a robbery gone bad that left Johnson dead.

Gibson's former defense lawyer, Michael Deal, even testified that he was prepared to take Gibson's case to a jury.

"My advice to him (based on my understanding of the evidence in the case) was to accept the plea," Deal said. "But the other part of my advice was that if he wanted a trial, we would give him the best possible trial we could."

Farkas said she could find nothing wrong with Deal's representation of Gibson.

"This court finds that Mike Deal, in fact, did everything possible to get his client the best deal, even though his client was working against him," Farkas wrote.

Under his current guilty plea, Farkas has agreed to cap Gibson's potential prison term at 18 years. He faces a minimum of five years behind bars.

Gibson's co-defendant, Gordon Jackson, has already been sentenced to 21 years to life for his guilty plea to a single-count of second-degree murder.

The pair were charged with gunning down Johnson, 20, a Rochester native and NU student, in a University Court apartment.

At the time of the shooting, investigators said Johnson was visiting a friend and fellow NU student who lived in the off-campus apartment. Gibson was reportedly acquainted with the resident of the apartment.

Investigators said that after being driven to the apartment by Gibson, Jackson attempted to rob Johnson and the resident of the apartment, when “something happened” and the teen fired a single shot from a sawed-off shotgun. The blast struck Johnson and killed him.

Prosecutors had contended that Gibson knew Jackson intended to rob the people inside the apartment on the day of the shooting.

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