Man killed on Richmond sidewalk

Zulma Pabon murder trial: Prosecutors build case against boyfriend without body

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Prosecutors began laying out their timeline of events that led up the disappearance of Zulma Pabon, the Midlothian nurse who disappeared in June 2014, during day two of her boyfriend’s trial.

Dr. John Gibbs is charged with murdering Pabon, even though her body has never been found.

A Chesterfield detective spent most of the day on the witness stand, sorting through financial documents and surveillance video related to the case.

Prosecutors laid out a host of financial documents that show there has been zero activity in Pabon’s bank accounts since the day she disappeared. Since there is no sign of Pabon’s body, prosecutors must convince jurors that she is deceased, and Gibbs caused her death.

Pabon’s friends had previously said she planned to leave Gibbs and was scared for her safety. Prosecutors presented a lease signed by Pabon that showed she had rented an apartment separate from the Terrace Harbor town home she shared with Gibbs.

Prosecutors showed she had paid the deposit on the new apartment and even bought furniture.

At this point in the trial, the defense has not presented their case, but can cross examine witnesses.  While the Chesterfield detective was on the stand, defense attorneys highlighted the fact that no blood was recovered at the town home the couple shared and there was no sign of a crime there.

John Gibbs (PHOTO: Chesterfield Police)

Prosecutors also showed surveillance video from the clubhouse at the Terrace Harbor community.  Gibbs and Pabon’s home was in frame of the camera.

The morning after Pabon’s disappearance, video shows Gibbs walking back to the town home from the direction of the back of the complex, but never shows him leaving the home, according to the detective who reviewed “hours of footage.” Gibbs continued to leave and come back to the house throughout the day, even changing clothes at one point.

Defense attorneys pointed out during cross examination that the camera only shows one side of the town home, and that Gibbs could have easily exited the home from another door that the surveillance camera could not see.

Jurors were dismissed early Tuesday because of the anticipated length of testimony for the prosecution’s next witness. The judge said the trial is moving ahead of anticipated schedule. Although initially set for ten days, the jury is expected to begin deliberations late next week.

Pabon’s mother, sister, and friends were in the courtroom Tuesday. After the hearing, Pabon’s friends said they plan on attending as much of the trial they can to show support.

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