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November 22, 2013

Seward, Muehl: Keep Dart behind bars

State Sen. Jim Seward, R-MIlford, and Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl today both called on the state Parole Board to keep convicted killer David Dart in state prison, where he is serving 25 years to life for the 1989 killing of Gillian "Jill" Gibbons in Oneonta.

"I see no reason why this confessed killer should be afforded the opportunity to roam free after taking a young woman's life in cold blood," Seward said.

The senator also called on the Democratic-controlled state Assembly  to take up a bill that has already cleared the Senate that would extend the time period between parole hearings for confined convicts seeking an early release.

Muehl, who was still in college at the time of the killing but knew the victim and her family, said Gibbons was the victim of "a gruesome murder."

"David Dart is a psychopath who should never get out of prison," Muehl told The Daily Star. "He stabbed her and stabbed her and stabbed her."

Both Seward and Muehl expressed concern with what they called a lack of adequate notification by state authorities to the victim and those in the local criminal justice system.

"Victim impact statements serve a vital role, and the system needs to be reliable," said Seward. It is t he least that can be done out of respect for a family that has already been through more trauma and suffering than anyone ever should."

Muehl said there was also an apparent breakdown by state criminal justice authorities in alerting his office that Dart, 44, was scheduled to receive a parole hearing this week.

That hearing was postponed to January on Wednesday, shortly after The Daily Star contacted the state Department of Corrections and Supervision, inquired about the parole hearing and pointed out the victim's sister, Jennifer Kirkpatrick, had not been directly notified, even though she signed up on a state website to get such notices.

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