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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Suspect arrested in ’92 murder of furniture store owner


    A suspect has been arrested for the murder of a Spokane Valley furniture store owner in 1992.

    Patrick Kevin Gibson, 58, is accused of killing Brian Cole at his furniture store during an armed robbery.

    Spokane County sheriff’s detectives traveled to Stanwood, Wash., and booked Gibson into jail on a first-degree murder charge today about 6:50 a.m.

    He is expected to be transported to Spokane in the next week.

    DNA linked Gibson to the Nov. 7, 1992, murder, according to the sheriff’s office.

    Cole and his wife were working at Cole’s Traditions in Oak on East Sprague Avenue when a man entered and demanded money. Cole said, “”You’re kidding?”” before the robber displayed a pistol and aimed at the couple. The Coles told him most customers paid with a check or credit card and that they didn’t have any cash, according to the sheriff’s office.

    Cole’s wife handed the robbery $18 from her purse. The robber ordered the couple to the back of the store. Cole asked if the robber would hurt a handicapped woman, referring to his wife, who was in a scooter because of multiple sclerosis.

    The man replied he “”just might,”” the sheriff’s office said.

    Cole tried to overpower the man but was shot in the head and chest. He was able to call 911 but died of his injuries at a hospital.

    Cole ripped his killer’s baseball cap and sunglasses off during the struggle. The case was featured on America’s Most Wanted in January 1993, but no suspect emerged.

    Detectives reviewing the case last December found evidence that had not been submitted for DNA testing. They learned April 18 that DNA on the evidence matched Gibson’s DNA, which was on file because of previous criminal conviction, including a stint in the federal prison system.

    Detective Lyle Johnston discovered that Gibson has convictions for kidnapping, rape, robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm and was not incarcerated at the time of Cole’s murder.

    Johnston learned from the FBI that Gibson was convicted of robberies in which he wore a disguise similar to that of Cole’s killer, a fake beard, hat and trench coat.

    Detectives quickly located Gibson in Stanwood because he’s a registered sex offender. Johnston traveled to Stanwood with Detective Mike Drapeau after prosecutors charged Gibson Monday.

    According to the Snohomish County sex offender registry, Gibson is a level 3 sex offender, the classification considered most likely to reoffend. He was convicted of rape and robbery in Multnomah County, Ore., in 1979 after robbing a Portland restaurant, forcing a waitress into his car and raping her at a rest stop.

    He was convicted in federal court in Nevada of kidnapping, aiding and abetting and conspiracy to kidnap. He also was convicted in Douglas County, Nev., of robbery after holding up a gas station in 1978, kidnapping a 17-year-old boy and a 19-year-old woman, then sexually assaulting the woman and leaving both tied up.

    He served prison time, then was convicted in 1996 of bank robbery and aiding and abetting in federal court in the Eastern District of California. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

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