Man pleads guilty to beating, stomping WW2 vet to death - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Man pleads guilty to beating, stomping WW2 vet to death

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BURKE COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A Burke County man pleaded guilty to the stomping death of a World War Two veteran from 2004, four years after his conviction was overturned by a courtroom technicality.

Bobby English accepted a plea deal in a Burke County court Monday morning for his role in the 2004 beating death of 82-year-old Henry "Red" Gibson.

The Bronze Star recipient was murdered inside his home during a robbery by English, Leigh Helton and Crystal Perryman in February 2004. The trio told Gibson that they were out of gas and were able to get inside his home.  That's when they robbed him of nearly $4,800 and beat him.

He died from what was described as a "crushed chest injury" after he was beaten and his chest was stomped by Helton. Gibson, who was also beaten with an ax handle, had a crushed skull and chest.

All three were arrested at the time of Gibson's death and Perryman turned State's Evidence and got a plea deal for second-degree murder and a reduced sentence.  She then testified against the other two in court.

Helton plead guilty to first degree murder and testified against Bobby English to avoid the death penalty.

English was initially convicted 2007 and sentenced to a life sentence without parole. That conviction was later overturned by a technicality from his trial after closing arguments were done out of order.

During the trial, English was labeled as slightly mentally handicapped. He was not eligible for the death penalty because of a ruling by the Court regarding his mental capacity.

He pleaded guilty to second degree murder and Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon on Monday and was sentenced to a minimum of 27 years in prison with credit for time served.

He is eligible for parole in 19-25 years.

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