Doctor charged with nurse’s murder bought 23 bottles of drain cleaner

Posted at 4:12 PM, Apr 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-11 17:37:37-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. – New details in the murder of Chesterfield nurse Zulma Pabon were discussed at a Tuesday bond hearing for the suspect, 39-year-old John E. Gibbs II.

The Chesterfield doctor charged in Pabon’s murder was in court for two bond reviews; one for the appeal of his recent child neglect conviction.

Bond was denied in both cases, though defense attorney Craig Cooley emphasized that his client had a stellar background, and no history of flight risk. He pointed out that despite being a person of interest for years in the Pabon case, Gibbs always appeared in court.

The Chesterfield deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney, Larry Hogan, said --as previously reported -- that Pabon told Gibbs she was moving out right before she disappeared, and Pabon told her friend she was afraid of Gibbs.

She told the friend that he had spied on her at Cook Out fast food restaurant in Powhatan.

Hogan also told the judge that last record of Pabon’s existence was a call to Gibbs.

The next morning, surveillance video showed Pabon’s car leaving the home on Saturday, as well as Gibbs leaving the home multiple time that morning.

He changed clothes twice that same morning within a short time span, Hogan said. Blood stains with Pabon’s DNA, and surgical gloves were found in Pabon’s car.

Pabon’s sister confronted Gibbs at the hospital the weekend after her disappearance.

After that, Gibbs was being followed by law enforcement, who witnessed Gibbs toss a bag into dumpster several miles away on Woods Edge Rd.

Bed sheets and a TV remote were found in the bag, Hogan said.

He also drove past where police later found Pabon’s car at the Green Lea Trailer Park, but did not stop.

In July, after Pabon’s disappearance, police said he bought 23 bottles of drain cleaner and a 64-gallon trash can at a Lowes. He returned seven bottles.

Hogan also told the judge that Gibbs searched on Google how much ether is required to knock someone out.

When Gibbs was arrested at Massanutten ski slopes, officers said he snowboarded away from officer who tried to speak with "at a high rate of speed."

He was located at the bottom of mountain, putting his snowboard in his vehicle. That’s when he was arrested by police, on March 14. Nearly three years have passed since Pabon disappeared.

At the time, Gibbs was out on bond on child neglect charges and he had on a GPS tracker.

Cooley said the summary showed a striking lack of evidence against Gibbs.

He said that skiing away from a stranger does not mean he's a flight risk. He said Gibbs has not violated bonds, and that nothing has changed regarding the factual basis of the case since 2014 -- other than Gibbs conviction on child neglect, which is being appealed.

The five-day jury trial for Gibbs is set for July 31.

Below is a timeline of events surrounding this case. For all background stories and updates, click here:

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