White supremacist Thomas Gibison took a few friends on several "hunting" trips to Philadelphia "to target not only blacks, but any other minority, homeless person or homosexual," an ex-girlfriend has told the
"During the time that I knew him, he was always plotting and scheming on ways to commit and get away with violent or criminal acts," said the woman, who contacted the Daily News by e-mail and discussed Gibison on condition of anonymity.
"He is an extremely dangerous person with no sense of morals, or remorse," said the woman, who did not testify - as two other ex-girlfriends did - during his trial, which ended last Tuesday with a split verdict.
"He often bragged about how he earned his [spider] web [tattoo] and tried to convince all of us in his tight circle of so-called friends to do the same," she said. "I am certain that Tom is a cold-blooded killer."
During the 12-day trial, childhood friend Craig Peterson, 37, testified he drove Gibison, 36, of Newark, Del., from Wilmington to Philadelphia to hunt for a black person to kill so both could "earn" a spider-web tattoo, a status symbol in their skinhead subculture.
A photo of the two pals showing off their tattoos was entered into evidence in the trial.
Based on details provided by Peterson, a Philadelphia homicide detective reviewed 37 unsolved murders from January through May 1989.
Detective Leon Lubiejewski found that the only murder that matched Peterson's details was the April 16, 1989, murder of Aaron Wood, 33, a North Philadelphia handyman.
Wood was shot once in the left temple with a .38-caliber weapon while walking between two parked cars.
A lone holdout on the 11-1 jury, however, was not convinced. A juror who voted to convict Gibison of the Wood murder told the Daily News that juror No. 12 believed that the then-17-year-old skinhead had killed someone, but not Wood.
After two days of deliberations, the jury of four black and eight white jurors compromised on a verdict because they feared that if a mistrial were declared, Gibison would be freed on bail, according to the juror.
Jurors convicted Gibison of conspiracy to murder and weapons violations, but acquitted him of first-degree murder and ethnic intimidation.
"I am fairly sure that Tom didn't know the name of his victim until he was brought up on these charges," said the ex-girlfriend. "Hopefully, he will receive maximum time for what he was found guilty of."
The woman also expressed relief that she had left him.
"It is difficult for me to even rationalize how I ever became involved with him," she added. "I am thankful that I was able to break free of that life and move on."
"Thank God, I never witnessed or participated in anything criminal on these instances," she said, referring to the so-called hunting trips.
"Even though he doesn't have many friends left, he is seen as a hero to a small group of white-supremacist nut-jobs like him," she added.