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Guilty verdict in 1992 Valley murder

Patrick K. Gibson, 60 (sex offender registry)
Patrick K. Gibson, 60 (sex offender registry)

A judge has found a serial robber guilty in the 1992 murder of a Spokane Valley furniture store owner.

Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen on Wednesday found Patrick Kevin Gibson guilty of first-degree murder after new DNA evidence implicated him in a case that had been cold.

On Nov. 7, 1992, Brian Cole, according to witnesses, was robbed at gunpoint by a man who also indicated he was willing to hurt Cole’s wife, who was in a wheelchair. The man shot Cole twice in the head and once in the chest.

The crime went unsolved for 19 years before DNA from a fake beard left at the East Sprague Avenue crime scene prompted detectives to arrest Gibson.

Gibson, 60, was arrested in Western Washington last year in connection with the killing.

Gibson made the choice to have his case decided by a judge instead of a jury. He was arrested after investigators found his DNA on a piece of a fake beard worn by the killer. Gibson testified a partner in his bank robberies must have reused the beard.

The trial began in May, but was delayed when prosecutors learned that “America’s Most Wanted” had used the hat worn by the killer when re-enacting the murder in a 1993 episode, potentially tainting DNA evidence.

This story will be updated.