County DA seeking ‘persistent felony offender’ status for Gibson

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff
Andrew Gibson was arraigned on bail-jumping charges in Albany County Court on Aug. 9. His lawyer, James Knox, is beside him.

ALBANY COUNTY — For his crimes of aggravated vehicular homicide, Westerlo resident Andrew Gibson will face, at minimum, 15 years in prison if the Albany County District Attorney’s Office is successful in designating him a persistent-felony offender.

At a proceeding in Albany County Court before Judge Andra Ackerman on Aug. 17, Gibson’s lawyer, James Knox, told Ackerman that he was not ready to respond to the persistent-felon filing as he had only recently received the documents. 

Knox also acknowledged that he had not been retained for matters related to the bail-jumping charges he received after failing to appear for his February sentencing while out on bail and spending the next six months hiding from police. Ackerman told Gibson, who said he was “broke,” that he would be assigned a public defender. 

Gibson is eligible for persistent-felony offender status because he has been previously convicted of at least two felonies — in his case, third-degree grand larceny and third-degree possession of stolen property, which he was convicted of in 2004 after trying to escape from police in a stolen truck following a traffic stop. 

As a persistent felon, Gibson would be sentenced as though aggravated vehicular homicide, a class B felony, were a class A-I felony, which has a minimum sentencing window of 15 to 25 years and the potential for life imprisonment, as opposed to a class B felony, the minimum sentence for which, according to state law, “shall be not less than one year nor more than one-third of the maximum term imposed,” with the maximum being 25 years.

Gibson pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide after he killed Berne resident Lisa Sperry, 55, last year while he was driving on the wrong side of the road with a blood-alcohol level that was nearly three times the legal limit of .08. 

Gibson was more recently charged with two felony counts of bail-jumping after he failed to appear for his sentencing in February this year, being caught by police this month only when they responded to a domestic dispute call in the Rensselaer County town of Schodack.

In connection with the dispute, Gibson was also charged with third-degree criminal mischief, second-degree unlawful imprisonment, second-degree criminal obstruction of breathing, second-degree aggravated harassment, obstruction of governmental administration, and resisting arrest.

A hearing was scheduled for Oct. 27 at 2 p.m.

More Hilltowns News

  • In a letter to the Westerlo Town Board this week, the town’s planning board chairman, Beau Loendorf, requested that the planning board be allowed oversight of the new firehouse project sought by the local volunteer fire department, which is believed to be immune to local zoning. 

  • Westerlo Supervisor Matt Kryzak is unhappy that the headquarters of the Westerlo Rescue Squad, which ceased operations at the end of 2019 but hasn’t yet officially dissolved as an organization, is being used by its membership for storage of personal vehicles instead of something that could benefit the town. 

  • The company was awarded a bid on Tuesday night that allows it to lay down nearly 40 miles of cable that will provide broadband access to 301 homes in the town of Westerlo; the project is funded with a $1.7 million federal grant. 

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