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March 22, 2014

Killer David Dart to go before parole board in May

By Joe Mahoney Staff writer
The Daily Star

---- — Convicted killer David Dart, serving 25 years to life in prison for the September 1989 knifing murder of 18-year-old Gillian Gibbons in Oneonta, will get another crack at release in May despite the fact that the state Parole Board rejected his request for freedom less than two months ago.

Now being kept at medium security Otisville state prison, Dart, formerly of Portlandville, is scheduled to go before another panel of the parole board the week of May 19, said Linda Foglia, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

If he is granted parole following that hearing, he would be released from custody on Sept. 11, she said.

Gibbons, a Milford High School graduate known to her friends and family as "Jill," was viciously accosted by Dart when she returned to her car in the Oneonta municipal parking lot on Sept. 12, 1989.

In late January, the parole board spurned his application for parole - the first bid for freedom since he had been incarcerated - reasoning that his release would be "incompatible with the welfare of society and would so deprecate the serious nature of the crime as to undermine respect for the law."

Asked if that ruling and the transcript of the hearing which preceded it will be available to the parole board that will see Dart in May, Foglia stated: "All records are available."

Typically, New York prison inmates who have been denied parole can't reappear before the parole board for another two years. But Dart became entitled to a special hearing in January - allowing consideration for early release - as the result of achieving ratings for good conduct during his confinement, officials said.

He earned the ratings, the parole board noted, after receiving credits for college courses and from his participation in a prison asbestos removal program, printing, tailor shop, food service and an art program.

Prior to the January hearing, the parole board received a torrent of communications from residents of the Oneonta region opposed to Dart's release. The opposition was led by the victim's sister, Jennifer Kirkpatrick, an office manger for an Oneonta dental practice who had found Gibbons lifeless body in the parking lot that day while searching for her.

Kirkpatrick is again seeking support in her campaign to keep Dart locked up.

 In a Facebook posting, she wrote: "I've been a bit overwhelmed after the last parole hearing for DD (David Dart). It is time again for the letters, e-mails and online statements to prevent parole for David Dart. I need everyone's help again."

In January, parole commissioners asked Dart why he repeatedly stabbed a woman he didn't know.

 “I really have no excuse," he responded, according to a parole hearing transcript obtained by The Daily Star. "I was a little high and drinking that day. But I can’t blame it on the drugs because before I took the drugs I was sober, so I can’t even blame it on that.”

Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl said he hopes that Dart's parole application will be rejected again.

 "I believe he is a danger to the community," the prosecutor said. "If he hadn't been arrested when he was for this crime, I believe he would have continued to kill women."