Man Sentenced to Death in Cold Case Rape, Murder of Pregnant Newlywed

Nearly 26 years after Malinda Gibbons was raped and stabbed to death in her Costa Mesa home, a former neighbor convicted of murdering the pregnant newlywed was sentenced to death Friday.

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Jason Balcom was sentenced to death Friday in the decades old rape and murder of 22-year-old pregnant newlywed, Malinda Gibbons.

Jason Balcom, 43, was convicted in 2012, of one felony count of special circumstances murder during the commission of rape, sodomy, robbery, and burglary after being linked to the crime through DNA, according to a news release from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

Malinda and her husband Kent Gibbons moved to Southern California from Utah only days before the attack.

On the morning of July 18, 1988, Malinda was home alone unpacking their new apartment while Kent Gibbons was at work. Prosecutors said Balcom entered the apartment and bound Malinda’s hands and feet using her husband’s neck ties.

He raped and sodomized Malinda and then murdered her by stabbing her in the chest, the release stated. Balcom then stole Malinda’s purse and took her wedding ring from her finger and fled.

At the time of the murder, “Balcom was living with his mother and aunt on the same street as the Gibbons, only a quarter of a mile south of their home,” according to the release.

The case eventually went cold, until 1999 when a new DNA test was conducted on a carpet stain and a swab recovered from Malinda’s body, the release stated.

In 2004, Balcom’s DNA was entered into the national database as a result of a rape conviction in Michigan. It eventually linked him to the murder of Malinda Gibbons.