The prosecution is expected to rest tomorrow in the trial of a Delaware skinhead accused of a racial killing in North Philadelphia almost two decades ago.
Today, Assistant District Attorney Roger King, who is prosecuting his last case this week, allowed Philadelphia Detective David Baker to read from an obscenity-laden, taped conversation of defendant Tom Gibison, 35, of Newark, conducted by a part-time police officer, Robert Paolo.
In one part of the conversation, secretly recorded by Paolo and given to Baker, Gibison is overheard sneering at Delaware and Philadelphia investigators in connection with the killing.
"About the white-supremacy thing, it's done," Gibison says at one point. "They're real interested in skinheads. They don't understand it's dead. I feel like saying you are three years late. . . . People have moved away or got killed. It's over. There's nothing left."
Gibison is accused of riding with an accomplice to near Girard College, where he fatally shot Aaron Wood, 35, of North Philadelphia, at point-blank range on April 16, 1989.
Previous testimony revealed that the killing was done so Gibison could legitimately sport a spider-web tattoo over his left elbow. In some white supremacist circles, such a tattoo indicates that the bearer has killed an African American.
King, using a computer projector, also displayed a number of tattoos on Gibison's body.
A tattoo on Gibison's stomach included a skull with a revolver pointing outward and read: "What goes around comes around."
Wood's murder remained unsolved until 2006, when federal agents, working on a firearms case in Delaware, picked up tips of a related unsolved Philadelphia murder by skinheads.
Philadelphia police Homicide Detective Leon Lubiejewski, one of a half-dozen witnesses called today, testified that federal agents contacted him last year to check on unsolved murders between January and May 1989.
An Anti-Defamation League Web site indicates that in the last five years, most sections of the country have seen a resurgence of skinhead activity both online and in the physical world.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit organization that monitors hate activity, also indicates that hate groups are on the rise.