Jury finds man guilty in Detroit officer's slaying

The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 23, 2011; 6:59 PM

DETROIT -- A convicted felon will return to prison after a jury convicted him Wednesday on charges of fatally shooting one Detroit police officer and wounding several others investigating a reported break-in at a suspected drug house.

Jason Gibson was found guilty of premeditated first-degree murder, murder of a peace officer and felony murder in the ambush-like slaying of Officer Brian Huff, 42, last May.

Gibson also was convicted of assault, resisting arrest and drug charges in the case.

He faces mandatory life in prison. Sentencing has been set for May 5 - a year and two days after Huff was killed.

"We are extremely grateful to the jury. Justice was served today," Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Trzcinski (Truh-zin-SKEE) said.

Huff's widow, Melissa Huff, cried in the courtroom as the verdict was read.

"This is the greatest gift, to know that Brian's murderer will do life," she later told reporters outside the courtroom. "He took an absolutely fabulous person away from us."

She said she kissed her husband as he left for work the night he was killed, "and he never came home. He was just doing his job."

Huff, his partner and several other officers responded on May 3, 2010, to a 911 call about lights shining in a vacant east side duplex. As the other officers took up positions outside the house, Huff announced "police" and kicked in the front door, according to testimony in the 18-day trial.

He was shot twice in the head. One slug tore through his jaw. The other severed his spine. Witnesses said the 12-year police veteran never removed his gun from the holster.

Gibson ran from the rear of the house after Huff was shot, firing at the other officers.

He was shot in the buttocks. The .45-caliber handgun used to kill Huff was found at Gibson's feet. Officers also recovered a pound of marijuana.

Four other officers were shot or injured, but they recovered.

Gibson's attorney, Susan Reed, did not immediately respond to phone and email messages left Wednesday afternoon seeking comment.

Gibson, who also used the alias James Everet, was sentenced to three years of probation in December 2007 for attempting to disarm a police officer and cocaine possession, according to Michigan Department of Corrections records. He didn't show up in April 2008 for a probation appointment and a warrant for his arrest was issued that month.

He also was arrested in November 2009 for carrying a concealed weapon but was released on bond after spending two months in jail. He failed to show up for a March 5, 2010, court hearing on the weapons case. Huff was slain two months later.

© 2011 The Associated Press