Witness: Alleged killer bought, used drugs
JOHNSTOWN – James Dibble, who is accused of killing his mother, bought and used drugs in the days before his mother was found shot to death in her Mud Road home, a witness testified Wednesday at Dibble’s trial.
Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira called witnesses in Fulton County Court to explain Dibble’s whereabouts and activities on the days before and after his mother’s body was discovered.
During June and July, Dibble bought and used heroin, sold jewelry to a local shop and sold numerous boxes of NASCAR memorabilia, witnesses said.
Dibble, 30, was charged with 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 Dibble on July 2 in the death of Gwenda L. Lisman, 58, who was found July 1 by a neighbor at Lisman’s home.
Authorities said Dibble shot his mother in the head with a .22-caliber rifle she had borrowed from a neighbor to deal with a rodent problem in her garden.
One of the witnesses, Scott Frasier of Mayfield, testified he and Dibble became friends about five years ago. He said they began using prescription pain medication and injecting heroin around October 2012.
He said the two got together primarily on weekends because Frasier worked in the Capital Region during the week. He said he spoke to Dibble several times on Facebook from June 28 to 30, when the two were looking for heroin.
Sira asked Frasier about Sunday morning, June 30, when the two started talking about finding the drug around 9 a.m. He said the two discussed how much money they needed, who had the best product and transportation issues. He said Dibble was “stuck on the mountain” and Frasier was recovering from a rib injury.
However, he testified, around 2:30 p.m., Dibble sent him a message stating, “I’ll be down.”
He said Dibble arrived at his house at 3:30 p.m. driving his mother’s green Mercedes. Frasier said when they left to find the drug, he asked if he could smoke in the car and Dibble said his mother wouldn’t like it, but the two proceeded to smoke anyway.
Frasier testified the two went to Walmart, where Dibble purchased syringes, and then drove around Gloversville for a few hours looking for the drug but had no luck. He said they then stopped by the Mayfield Marina for a short time before driving to Amsterdam, where they were able to buy four bags of heroin.
They used the drug on their drive back to Frasier’s house, he testified.
Frasier said Dibble dropped him off at home at 8 p.m.
When defense attorney Robert Abdella cross examined Frasier, his credibility was brought into question because what he testified Wednesday conflicted with two previous written statements he gave police in July and his grand jury testimony.
Abdella got Frasier to admit he made several false statements to police, including his use of heroin, what was purchased at Walmart that day and what the two actually did that Sunday.
Frasier said in previous statements he was drug-free, they bought fishing supplies at Walmart and then fished for several hours.
Frasier said he checked himself in to a rehabilitation facility in Florida on July 30 for six weeks. He said he is now is drug-free.
Sira previously said Dibble killed his mother for financial and material gain.
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 district attorney’s office. According to an indictment, each of the items exceeded $1,000 in value.
Among other witnesses who testified Wednesday were the local businessmen who purchased items from Dibble in the days leading up to and following the discovery of Lisman’s death.
George Romeyn, the owner of Double Eagle Coins in Gloversville, testified Dibble came alone to his shop four times in June to sell a variety of jewelry and coins.
Romeyn said that on June 10, he gave Dibble $201, on June 15, he gave him $299, and on June 25, he purchased $237 worth of gold. He said that on the third visit, he began spending less on the items because he became suspicious. He also started writing other identifiable information from the identification Dibble was providing.
The final visit was June 27, and he gave Dibble $53 for gold rings he typically would have purchased for a “few hundred dollars.”
Romeyn said in all the sales, he acquired Dibble’s identification and signature for the purchase, but the items sold he deemed scrap gold, which meant it went to a third party to melt down, so none of the items could be recovered when police became aware of the sales.
“By the time police got to me, it was already gone,” he said.
Eugene Joubert, who owns a horse farm in Broadalbin, testified he hired Dibble for about 10 years, and on July 1, he purchased a chainsaw from Dibble for $100 because Dibble said he needed the money to repair his vehicle.
Joubert said Dibble arrived at his house driving a green Mercedes.
He said Dibble returned later and was agitated and pacing on his porch asking for more money, but Dibble wouldn’t say why he needed it.
Joubert said he told Dibble he already gave him all the money he had and because the banks were closed, he couldn’t get anything more until the next day, so Dibble left the residence.
Joubert was called about 15 minutes later by authorities looking for Dibble’s whereabouts.
Mike Fioretti, of Collector’s Connection in Gloversville, said he had two encounters with Dibble during June and July 1.
He said that both times, Dibble was trying to sell numerous boxes of NASCAR memorabilia, and on July 1, Fioretti finally purchased items for $180.
When he returned home that night, his wife showed him a picture of a man wanted for the killing in Ephratah and realized it was Dibble, so he notified the police.
Ben Robb, previous owner of Checkered Flag Racing Collectibles, valued the NASCAR items for police and testified the items were “very nice but not that high-desirable collectible.”
He estimated the value of the items at $1,915.
Fulton County Court Judge Polly Hoye notified the jury Wednesday the trial could conclude Wednesday. The trial resumed this morning with more testimony.