A man drove across the country and confessed to a 1997 murder all because of some misplaced Walmart phone calls, authorities say. The man, 55-year-old Matthew Gibson, will now spend the next 10 years in prison.
Gibson, a North Carolina resident, drove all the way to Arizona to confess to the murder of Barbara Leone Brown in 1997. He turned himself in because he was convinced someone had a bounty out for his head.
Gibson killed Brown in 1997, but says he never knew his victim’s name. Recently, Gibson started getting phone calls from Walmart saying that “Anisha Townshed’s” prescription was ready. Gibson, obviously still carrying a psychological burden from the murder, feared his victim’s name was Anisha Townshed and that the phone calls were from a bounty hunter.
One day, Gibson received a letter in the mail with no return address. The envelope had a Walmart advertisement inside. The letter was the icing on Gibson’s paranoia cake, and he became convinced there was “a contract on his head.”
So, despite never being named a suspect in Brown’s murder, Gibson drove cross-country and turned himself in. He confessed to killing Brown and dumping her body in the Colorado River almost 20 years ago.
“His name was never in any report,” said Mohave County Assistant Prosecutor Jace Zack. “We didn’t even know he existed.”
Defense attorney Ron Gilleo says without Gibson’s guilty conscience, the case would still be unsolved today.
“What’s unique about this case is he has no criminal record, no traffic tickets, no misdemeanors, no prior felonies,” Gilleo told the Washington Post. “He had nothing … if he had not turned himself in, this would still be an unsolved crime.”