Trial for Zulma Pabon’s alleged killer delayed; suspect to be released

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John Gibbs (PHOTO: Chesterfield Police)

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. – The Chesterfield doctor charged with the murder of his girlfriend will be released from jail in a month and his trial delayed.

Defense attorney Debra Corcoran said that 39-year-old Dr. John Gibbs III will be released around Sept. 1, after he finishes serving his six-month felony child neglect sentence.

Gibbs five-day trial was supposed to start July 31. The case is considered unusual because the body of 26-year-old Chesterfield nurse Zulma Pabon has never been recovered.

A witness for the prosecution was unavailable this week. Prosecutors either had to withdraw the charge or delay the trial, Corcoran confirmed. She said that the defense objected to the delay and the prosecution was denied a continuance.

A compromise was reached that allowed Gibbs to be released from jail until the new trial date on Nov. 27.

He will not have electronic monitoring but he will have to check in with court officials at least once a month.

Zulma Pabon

The sudden disappearance of Zulma Pabon

Pabon disappeared June 6, 2014, under circumstances considered suspicious.

Gibbs was arrested in Feb. 2016, and charged with child neglect after police said he left his five-year-old son alone on more than one occasion. He was found guilty of the crime in November.

He was previously questioned about Pabon’s disappearance but never charged with a crime.

The last record of Pabon’s existence was a call to Gibbs, according to the Chesterfield County Commonwealth’s Attorney Larry Hogan.

Pabon told Gibbs she was moving out right before she disappeared, and Pabon told her friend she was afraid of Gibbs, Hogan previously said in court. She told the friend that he had spied on her at Cook Out fast food restaurant in Powhatan.

Around the time she disappeared, surveillance video showed Pabon’s car leaving the home, as well as Gibbs leaving the home multiple time.

He changed clothes twice that same morning within a short time span, Hogan said. Blood stains with Pabon’s DNA, and surgical gloves were found in Pabon’s car.

Pabon’s sister confronted Gibbs at the hospital the weekend after her disappearance.

After that, Gibbs was being followed by law enforcement, who witnessed Gibbs toss a bag into dumpster several miles away on Woods Edge Road.

Bed sheets and a TV remote were found in the bag, Hogan said.

He also drove past where police later found Pabon’s car at the Green Lea Trailer Park, but did not stop.

In July, after Pabon’s disappearance, police said he bought 23 bottles of drain cleaner and a 64-gallon trash can at a Lowes. He returned seven bottles.

Hogan also told the judge that Gibbs searched on Google how much ether is required to knock someone out.

When Gibbs was arrested at Massanutten ski slopes, officers said he snowboarded away from officer who tried to speak with him “at a high rate of speed.”

He was located at the bottom of the mountain, putting his snowboard in his vehicle. That’s when he was arrested by police, on March 14.

At the time, Gibbs was out on bond on child neglect charges and he had on a GPS tracker.

Defense Attorney Craig Cooley previously said the summary showed a striking lack of evidence against Gibbs.

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