Opening arguments are expected to begin today in the 19-year-old murder of a North Philadelphia black man in what has been labeled a "racial killing."
Eleven jurors were selected yesterday. The case is expected to officially open this morning at the Criminal Justice Center.
In the case, dating back to April 16, 1989, Thomas Gibison, 35, of Newark, Del. is charged with murder, ethnic intimidation and related offenses in the shooting death of Aaron Wood. Wood was 35 when he was shot while walking in the 1300 block of N. Stillman Street.
At a preliminary hearing in February 2007, Gibison was charged with what prosecutors say was a racially motivated murder committed by Gibison and accomplice Craig Petersen to earn their stripes as committed skinheads - the lacy spider webs that both men subsequently got tattooed across their elbows.
The Aaron Wood murder remained unsolved until last year, when FBI agents were working on a firearms case in Delaware, picking up tips of a related unsolved Philadelphia murder by skinheads.
Homicide detective Leon Lubiejewski reportedly narrowed down 37 unsolved murders to Wood's killing on April 16, 1989, with details that the agents provided.
Craig Peterson, allegedly the driver in the incident, was granted immunity by the federal government when he agreed to testify about the Wood murder. Gibison was arrested last Nov. 7 at his Newark, Del. home
During yesterday's jury selection, Gibison sat quietly next to his attorney as Wood's brother, Michael, watched from the back of the courtroom.
Contact staff writer Dwight Ott at 215-854-2797 or firstname.lastname@example.org