Murder trial begins for man accused of killing Pawtucket man during home invasion
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) - The murder trial has begun for the man accused of shooting and killing a Pawtucket man back in 2013 during a home invasion.
Juan Gibson has been held without bail at the ACI since his arrest last March. New DNA technology linked him to the murder of Jeffrey Lebrun six years after the crime.
"We're going to present to you evidence that's going to prove that this defendant is guilty of six separate offenses that occurred on two separate days in the city of Pawtucket," said prosecutor Scott Erickson.
Prosecutors say Gibson is the suspect in not one but two home invasions at Lebrun's Dawson Street home in Pawtucket.
The first, police say, occurred in May of 2013. Lebrun told police at the time that two people dressed in black broke into his home around 1:45 a.m. He fought them off but was stabbed in the process.
Lebrun told police that he felt he had been targeted because he had a license to grow medical marijuana.
During day one of the trial, Erickson mentioned in his opening statement to the 12-person jury that a sweatshirt was found nearby the home after the first home invasion. DNA on the sweatshirt matched both Gibson and Lebrun, he said.
Erickson also said police found Gibson walking in the neighborhood soon after the home invasion was reported.
The second home invasion was two months later in July. That time, prosecutors say, Gibson had a gun and shot him six times, killing Lebrun.
Lebrun's stepdaughter, who was 15 at the time, was the only one home during the murder and hid in the closet. She reported hearing the gunshots. She was brought to the stand Wednesday for questioning and will be back on the stand Thursday.
"Mr. Lebrun didn't deposit his cash in a bank, he had a safe in his house. He kept the cash in his house."
Erickson said that was the motive in the home invasions, as Gibson was a family friend, and knew that he sold medical marijuana and collected disability. Gibson, prosecutors say, was the boyfriend to a friend of Lebrun's stepdaughter.
"It became common knowledge amongst that group of folks what Jeff did, how much money he made, and where that money was," said Erickson.
Defense attorneys argue that the DNA evidence, that was also found under Lebrun's fingernails and on items left during the first home invasion, isn't strong enough.
"It is DNA that matches a paternal lineage. That's your father, your father's brother, your father's brother's son's," said defense attorney David Morra.
The trial resumes Thursday in Providence Superior Court.
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