Man indicted in mother’s death
EPHRATAH – A man accused in July of shooting and killing his mother was indicted by a Fulton County grand jury on five counts, including second-degree murder.
James F. Dibble, 29, was indicted on second-degree murder, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, two counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, all felonies, and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, a misdemeanor.
Police arrested and charged Dibble with second-degree murder July 2 in the death of his mother, Gwenda L. Lisman, 58, who was found July 1 at 11:19 a.m. by a neighbor at Lisman’s home at 227 Mud Road, authorities said.
Authorities said Dibble shot his mother in the head with a rifle she borrowed from a neighbor to deal with a rodent problem in her garden.
According to the indictment, announced Thursday, the killing took place between June 30 and July 1.
Fulton County Sheriff Thomas Lorey previously said Dibble and his mother may have been arguing over money and had a “tumultuous relationship.”
If convicted of second-degree murder, Dibble could face 25 years to life in prison, District Attorney Louise Sira said.
The criminal-possession charges stem from Dibble being in possession of stolen property consisting of jewelry belonging to Lisman and NASCAR collectibles belonging to Jeffrey Snell, according to the district attorney’s office.
Dibble is accused of pawning the items for his own benefit, according to the the district attorney’s office. According to the indictment, each of the items exceeded $1,000.
The lesser count of criminal possession of stolen property stemmed from the sale of a Husqvarna chainsaw belonging to Snell.
An autopsy performed by Dr. Michael Sikirica listed the cause of death for Lisman as a gunshot wound to the head.
Sira said a .22-caliber rifle was used to shoot the woman.
“The state police and sheriff’s office did recover a .22-caliber rifle from the residence and that is believed to be the murder weapon,” Sira said.
A neighbor reported seeing Lisman at the house on the afternoon of June 30.
Officials found Dibble on July 2 in Lisman’s Mercedes on School Street in Mayfield and took him into custody without incident, authorities said.
Dibble invoked his Fifth Amendment rights, preventing authorities from interviewing him, Lorey said after the arrest.
Officials said Lisman’s house was in disarray when law-enforcement officials went through it after the death.
“The investigation has been thoroughly conducted and I have every confidence that justice will prevail for Wendy [Gwenda’s nickname],” Sira said. “I know, from personally meeting with her family and neighbors, that Gwenda’s loss has been deep for all her knew her. One neighbor told me that ‘Wendy was the glue that kept the neighborhood together.'”
An arraignment date for Dibble has yet to be scheduled in Fulton County Court.
Dibble has been assigned representation by Gloversville attorney Robert Abdella.
Abdella declined to comment on what his client’s defense will be, but said he is looking forward to have his day in court.
“We look forward to having an opportunity to conduct discovery and then ultimately our day in court,” Abdella said.
Lorey previously said Dibble had been arrested previously, but he didn’t have specifics on charges.
Lorey said Dibble lived at the residence with his mother “off and on.”
He couldn’t say where Dibble may have lived when he wasn’t living with his mother, and described Dibble as a “transient sort of character.”
Lisman was a member of the Johnstown Women of the Moose, according to her obituary. She was employed at Lexington Center for 15 years until her retirement.
Sira said she spoke with with Denise Barrett, sister of the victim, and she is relieved the case will move forward.
“On behalf of Wendy’s family, I want to thank the sheriff’s office and District Attorney Sira, as well as our close friends, for helping to get us through this difficult time,” Barrett said in a news release. “We will never forget my sister.”