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Jason Balcom raped and murdered Malinda Gibbons in 1988: The Truth About Murder with Sunny Hostin examines the case

Mugshot of Jason Michael Balcom
Jason Balcom was convicted and sentenced to death for the rape and murder of Malinda Gibbons. Pic credit: Michigan Dept. of Corrections

Malinda Gibbons was raped and murdered in her own apartment in Costa Mesa, Orange County in 1998. The case remained unsolved for 15 years until Jason Michael Balcom was eventually convicted of the crime.

Malinda and her husband Kent had moved into the area from from Utah only 4 days previously in July 1988. Kent was starting a new job, Malinda was 4 to 6 weeks pregnant, and the couple were looking forward to starting their new life in California.

While Kent was at work, Malinda had stayed at home to continue the unpacking when Balcom forced his way into the home. He tied her up, binding her hands and feet with neck ties, stuffed a tie in her mouth, and rapped her. He then stabbed her repeatedly in the chest.

DNA from semen found on the victim’s carpet was kept in storage, when forensic science improved in the 1990s this DNA was added to a national database. It was this evidence that would eventually catch up with Balcom.

In 2004 Balcom was arrested and convicted for a rape in Michigan, he was sentenced to 30 to 50 years in prison for that crime. His DNA was collected and fed into the national database, and a match was found with the suspect in the Gibbons case. In that same year he was transported from Michigan to Orange County to face the charges relating to Malinda.

It came to light that in 1988, Balcom then 18, having just been released from juvenile detention, had gone on a one-man crime spree violently attacking several woman during a 6 week period in Orange County.

In March 2012 he was convicted of the murder of Malinda Gibbons, however, the jury remained deadlocked over whether he should receive the death penalty or life in prison.

Defense lawyers argued against the death penalty pointing to a difficult upbringing when Balcom suffered abuse physical and mental abuse from his single mother, however, in 2014 a judge ruled in favor of the death penalty.

See the case tonight in The Truth About Murder with Sunny Hostin at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.

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