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Jury in Gibison trial talks, does not decide

The Common Pleas Court jury in the trial of a white-supremacist skinhead charged with murder in the slaying of an African American in North Philadelphia 19 years ago deliberated for five hours yesterday without reaching a verdict. Jurors are to resume their work Monday.

Thomas Gibison, 37, of Newark, Del., is accused of shooting Aaron Wood, 33, of North Philadelphia, in the head on April 16, 1989, on the 1300 block of North Stillman Street. Prosecutors say Gibison and an accomplice drove from Delaware to find an African American for the defendant to kill so that he could enhance his standing in racist-skinhead circles.

The defense has contended that Wood, a small-time drug dealer, was killed in dispute with a supplier. Gibison is charged with murder, ethnic intimidation and related offenses.

Yesterday, the jury sent Judge M. Teresa Sarmina three requests: for a copy of Wood's autopsy; for a repeat of instructions on reasonable doubt; and for a reading of a transcript of a secretly recorded conversation involving Gibison.

- Dwight Ott