Murder victim's family fights parole (with photos)

By Kelly McCarthy

November 21, 2013 Updated Nov 22, 2013 at 11:04 AM EDT

Oneonta, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A man convicted of murdering a woman in 1989 is approaching his first parole hearing. The victim's family and local communities are joining forces to keep David Dart of Portlandville behind bars.

On Sept. 12, 1989, 18-year-old Gillian Gibbons was found stabbed to death in her parked car inside an Oneonta parking garage.

Since then, her sister Jennifer Kirkpatrick spent her days reliving that night she found her younger sister murdered.

"And then I touched her face and then it was cold," Kirkpatrick said, "And then I just started screaming. Screaming at the top of my lungs."

David Dart, 44, is serving 25 years to life in Otisville state prison, and the state Parole Board is considering an early release.

A Milford woman who previously had a violent encounter with Dart is joining in the fight against his release.

"How could, with even such a heinous act," said victim Jennifer Dutcher, "How could someone even think of letting him out on the streets."

The New York State Department of Corrections said Dart was scheduled to have his first parole hearing on Nov. 19, but that's now postponed until January because they say his file is incomplete.

Gillian's sister says she feels blindsided that she was never told he would be up for parole. Kirkpatrick said she has a meeting scheduled in December with the state Parole Board to share her victim statement.

"It's not just for my well being that he killed my sister and I want him kept behind bars for that crime,: Kirkpatrick said, "It's to keep everyone safe because he will hurt someone again, without a doubt he will do it again."

Kirkpatrick and close friends started a Facebook group to get Dart's parole hearing denied. It's called "Stop PAROLE of Gillian's Murderer" and as of Thursday evening, it has 600 members.

"My Facebook, Gillian's Facebook, is just blowing up." Kirkpatrick said, "I couldn't even answer every message that was sent to me."

The group asks community members and others who knew him to send in their own statements on Dart and his history.

"It shows me that even after all these years it's still a fresh memory for those who were truly involved," Dutcher said, "Friends and family and community members, this struck the heart of our community."

The heart of Gillian's older sister and best friend will always have on it scars left by Dart.

"I have to say that she was my little sister but I honest to god looked up to her, she was my hero and I miss her," Kirkpatrick said.

Kirkpatrick said she will everything she can to keep her sister's killer from enjoying the freedom Gillian can not.

Dart was convicted of murder in the second degree. New York State Department of Corrections has reached out to the Otsego County Judge, District Attorney, and Public Defender seeking a recommendation statement on Dart's parole board appearance.

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