A man was convicted of murder Tuesday, eight years after he launched an attack on his ex-girlfriend’s family in Irvine that left her father dead and two other family members shot, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said.
A jury found Alwyn Gibson, 32, guilty of murder, attempted murder and aggravated assault on Nov. 13. But the murder conviction handed down on Tuesday also found Gibson to be legally sane at the time of the killings — a point his attorneys disputed during the trial.
The conviction also included special circumstances of murder during a robbery and discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury.
One evening in February 2009, the family of Gibson’s ex-girlfriend was having dinner when he came into their Irvine home, prosecutors said. His ex-girlfriend was not in the home or living there at the time.
A DA news release did not specify how Gibson managed to get into the home, but once he did, he was carrying a firearm. It had a large citrus fruit placed over the barrel of the gun to muffle the sounds of gunshots.
Once inside, Gibson demanded money and started going through the purse of his ex-girlfriend’s mother, prosecutors said. Then, at some point, he started shooting.
He shot his ex-girlfriend’s mother, Ly Le, once in the arm and hit one of her brothers, David Le, over the head with a gun.
The rampage later moved upstairs in the home, where Gibson forced the father, De Ngoc, and one of the two brothers, Michael Le, to kneel on the floor of a bedroom.
Prosecutors said that’s when Gibson shot De Ngoc in the back of the head — killing him.
During the opening statements of Gibson’s trial, Deputy District Attorney Eric Scarbrough said De Ngoc tried pleading with his killer in the final moments of his life, the Orange County Register reported.
“Things haven’t gone too far, you don’t have to spend the rest of your life in jail,” he allegedly told Gibson.
Gibson tried to also kill Michael Le by shooting him in the back of the neck, an injury that left Michael Le hospitalized in critical condition for several days. He survived.
Meanwhile, David Le managed to escape the attack and ran into a neighbor’s home to call 911. A SWAT team from the Irvine Police Department soon arrived and was in a standoff with Gibson for several hours before he finally surrendered early the following morning.
During the trial, Gibson’s defense team argued he tried checking himself into a psychiatric hospital the day before and it denied that the shootings were premeditated or fired during an attempted robbery, the Register reported.
When the guilty verdict came in, Gibson’s attorney, Jacqueline Freeman, claimed he was a paranoid schizophrenic who was experiencing delusions at the time of the killing and shootings, the O. C. Register reported. But Deputy DA Scarbrough said Gibson’s history of mental illness and a prior stay at a psychiatric hospital wasn’t enough to determine he was legally insane when he committed the crimes.
“Simply having a diagnosis for a mental illness is not a free ride to commit crimes,” he told jurors, according to the Register.