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Man sentenced to two life sentences for rape, murder of woman in 2017

Posted at 7:08 PM, Nov 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-20 19:08:58-05

BALTIMORE — A 19-year-old was sentenced to serve two concurrent life sentences for the rape and murder of 35-year-old Jessica Gibson in September 2017 on Wednesday.

In 2018, James House pled guilty to first-degree rape and first-degree murder for the 2017 murder.

Police say in September 2017, they responded to the rear of the Port Discovery Children's Museum for a report of an unresponsive person. There, police found Gibson hidden behind several large pallets with her pants pulled down to her knees. She also had evidence of trauma to her head, arms and body.

According to the medical examiner, the victim suffered significant trauma to her neck, including fractured cartilage in her throat, contusions, lacerations and abrasions around her head, face and along her arms, legs and torso. There was also evidence that the victim had suffered forced sexual abuse both before and after she was dead.

During the course of investigation, police identified the defendant, James House, through video surveillance, community tips, witness interviews, and ultimately DNA evidence.

On September 16, 2017, police detained the defendant and interviewed him about this incident which he initially denied involvement in. He later changed his story after being shown photos of them walking together before she was killed.

House told Initially, detectives that Gibson was a prostitute and that he was going to pay her to perform certain sexual acts, but when he realized he didn’t have enough money, he strangled her until she was unconscious. House then confessed that he pulled the victim’s pants down, raped her, retrieved the money he initially paid her and left.

Following his confession, House was placed under arrest.