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Resentencing delayed for man who murder his parents 27 years ago

JONESBORO (WSIL) — Mark Gibbs has been in custody for 27 after shooting and killing his parents in Reynoldsville, a small town in Union County.

He was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty in 1995 but a U.S. Supreme Court decision forced the matter to go back to court.

In 2012, a 5-4 decision by the court ruled mandatory life sentences without the chance of parole for minors was cruel and unusual punishment.

Gibbs was 17 when he killed Richard and Betty Gibbs in 1992. Family members said it was because of a dispute over his grades.

He pleaded guilty in 1995 and received a life sentence without parole.

The Illinois Supreme Court decided the ruling applied retroactively to every case in Illinois prior to 2012 a couple years later

Gibbs was scheduled to be resentenced Friday but Judge Jeffery Farris decided to push a decision back until November 15.

The defense team, a group of lawyers from the John Marshall Law School Pro Bono Litigation Clinic in Chicago, wants more time to secure funding to hire an investigator to find factors that would help Gibbs’ lawyers argue for a lower prison sentence.

Lead defense attorney J. Damian Ortiz said they’re looking into a program with the Juvenile Defender Resource Center to fund an expert witness.

David Robinson from the Illinois State’s Attorneys Appellate Prosecutors office was appointed to handle the case last week and he wants a life sentence for Gibbs.

He said he wanted the sentencing to happen Friday so the family wouldn’t have to wait any longer for a resolution.

Judge Farris said he wants to make sure he gets this sentencing right so it doesn’t get overturned again, so he granted the defense team’s request.  

Family members declined to speak on camera but they say they respect the judge’s decision.

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News 3 Staff

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