Detroit Cop Killer Gets Life Without Parole
Officer Brian Huff
Detroit Free Press via YellowBrix
May 06, 2011
DETROIT – In a courtroom wracked by sobs, with uniformed officers wall-to-wall, Jason Gibson was sentenced to life in prison without parole Thursday for the fatal shooting of Detroit Police Officer Brian Huff a year ago.
“I don’t know why you had to take my dad away,” 11-year-old Blair Huff said as Gibson sat hunched over at the defense table not 10 feet away.
“He was a good man,” the youngster said. “He was just doing his job.”
Huff was killed, and four other officers were wounded, last May while investigating a reported break-in at a vacant duplex on Schoenherr near 8 Mile. Gibson reportedly surprised the officers as they entered. Large quantities of marijuana were recovered from the house.
In all, Gibson was convicted on 17 counts of murder, assault, drug and weapons violations.
“Justice has prevailed,” said Huff’s wife, Melissa Alexander-Huff, as she thanked Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway, the jurors and Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Trzcinski.
Alexander-Huff said her husband believed that reason and talking could change lives and stop violence.
“If you would have heard his voice, none of us would be here today,” Alexander-Huff told Gibson.
Huff, she said, was a man who left his home each day with a badge and faith: “Whenever he’d go out that door, we’d cover him with prayer that this day would never come.”
She recalled that they had met when they were toddlers, and the playmates grew into adulthood and marriage.
“He was our protector,” she said.
Huff’s stepmother Ginger Radd-Blair said he was a big, gentle man. “But mostly, he was a giant to his son. … And I want you to know that giants never die.”
The spectators’ gallery was packed with Detroit police officers — most of them in uniform, but also many in plainclothes — and ringed with Wayne County Sheriff’s Office deputies. Four deputies surrounded Gibson throughout the 35-minute sentencing.
Emotions ran high. Huff’s sister Tanise Blair sobbed aloud. Even Trzcinski, a veteran of dozens of homicide trials, apologized for weeping as he acknowledged all the law enforcement personnel and private citizens who aided Huff and the prosecution.
In handing down the sentence, Hathaway told Gibson that the dope bosses weren’t standing in court with him to pay the price for taking a life and harming so many others.
“Do those drug people mean that much to you?” she asked. “Can they mean that much to you?”
Given the opportunity to speak, Gibson began in a hoarse whisper, but stammered when told to speak up. He appeared to struggle and then chose silence.
“Good luck to this entire community,” Hathaway said, ending the hearing.