Duane Gibson convicted of kidnapping, hoping for a ransom

Duane Gibson convicted of kidnapping, hoping for a ransom

After a 13 day jury trial, Duane Gibson, 40, of South Euclid, was found guilty all indicted charges including: three counts of kidnapping, one count of aggravated robbery, one count of felonious assault, three counts of murder, one count of failure to comply with order or signal of a police officer, one count of having weapons while under disability, one count of grand theft, one count of receiving stolen property, one count of theft, and one count of tampering with evidence. 

In April of last year Gibson, and co-defendants Jay Hillsman, 25, Ronald Brunson, 35, and Umar Clark, 20, all of Cleveland, kidnapped a 58-year-old male at gunpoint from his residence in Cleveland in the hopes of being paid a ransom for his release. The defendants bound and gagged the victim and transported him to Gibson's house on Herrick Road. They held him for 11 hours while they awaited a ransom payment. During the captivity, the defendants robbed the victim of cash, credit cards, jewelry and his vehicle. When police attempted to apprehend the suspects, the defendants attempted to flee resulting in a car chase through Cleveland and the Euclid Metroparks. Gibson eventually crashed his car in a backyard on Darryl Avenue in South Euclid. Gibson, Hillsman, and Brunson fled, but were subsequently apprehended.

Two hours later, police located the victim, who was being held by Clark and a fifth suspect, Leon James, 23, of Cleveland. The two suspects drove their vehicle at police resulting in the officers firing at the auto and causing the death of Leon James.

On October 25, 2011, Brunson plead guilty to one count of kidnapping and one count of aggravated robbery. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison. On December 13, 2011, Clark plead guilty to one count of kidnapping, one count of aggravated robbery and one count of involuntary manslaughter. He faces a maximum of 30 years in prison. On January 5, 2012, Hillsman plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter, kidnapping, aggravated robbery and tampering with evidence. He faces a maximum of 35 years in prison. Sentencing is currently pending for Brunson, Clark, and Hillsman.

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