News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


David Dart apology

30 Years Later, A Sister Spurns Killer’s Apology


30 Years Later, A Sister

Spurns Killer’s Apology

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Jennifer Kirkpatrick’s memories of her sister Gillian Gibbons’ passing are still very vivid. (Jim Kevlin/

ONEONTA – Thirty years after the murder of her 18-year-old Gillian Gibbons, her sister was not expecting the call she got from the state Office of Victim’s Services on Tuesday, July 2.

“Just out the blue I got a call saying they had a letter from David Dart – and did I want to hear it,” said Jennifer Kirkpatrick. “In 30 years, he has never tried to contact us.”

In 1991, then age 29, Dart had been convicted of second-degree murder for stabbing Gillian to death with a “Rambo-style survival knife” – as described in the court transcript – on the second floor of the Oneonta Municipal Parking Garage on Sept. 12, 1989. He was sentenced to 25 years to life, but is up for parole yet again this November.

Jennifer asked to hear the letter he wrote to the parole board.

“Thirty years ago, I committed a horrible crime,” wrote Dart. “I got high, approached her with the intent to rob her, but she told me she didn’t have any money, and I stabbed her.”

“I only want you to know that I am sorry,” he continued. “I would give anything to go back and change things.”

“It’s a joke,” said Jennifer in an interview. “He never said he was going to rob her, so right there, he’s a liar. Why should I believe anything else he says? And if he’s so sorry, why did it take him 30 years to say anything?”

Since Dart’s first parole hearing in 2014, Jennifer has lobbied to keep him incarcerated.

“It’s a huge burden to have to go before the parole board every two years,” she said. “When you go before the parole board, it’s just you and the stenographer, and she’s in tears, she can barely do her job as I’m talking.

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