Appeals court rejects appeal of 2011 Lafayette murder conviction

Darren Englert During a 2014 News 18 Special Report

Tippecanoe County prosecutors called it of the most brutal murders they've ever seen.

Posted: Aug 27, 2019 11:30 AM
Updated: Aug 27, 2019 11:30 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (WLFI) — The Indiana Appeals court has turned down an effort to overturn a Lafayette murder conviction. Darren Englert pleaded guilty in the 2011 death of his roommate Jeremy Gibson and was sentenced to 80 years in prison.

Englert said he got bad advice from his lawyer. The 28-year-old claimed that he pleaded guilty because he was warned that prosecutors would pursue the death penalty, or a no-parole sentence.

The court said there's no evidence that Englert's attorney made false statements.

During News 18's 2014 Special Report Inside the Mind of a Killer, Englert opened up about the crime from his jail cell. Tippecanoe County prosecutors called it of the most brutal murders they've ever seen.

It began inside a home in the 1000 block of North 8th Street in Lafayette. It was the early morning of July 6, 2011 and 26-year-old Gibson returned home from work.

When he arrived, he was greeted by his girlfriend, Carol Ann Clear, and his two roommates, Antonio Williams and Englert. According to court documents, an argument ensued inside the kitchen.

Clear later told jurors the fight lasted about five minutes, with both Williams and Englert throwing punches at Gibson. According to Clear, it ended with blood smeared in the kitchen and Gibson tied by his hands and feet. 

"I'm on drugs, you know, too," Englert told News 18 in 2014. "So, I'm not thinking through everything."

Englert claimed he had no part in the physical beating of Gibson, but Clear later testified that he did take part. 

She also claimed that he helped Williams throw Gibson in a cold shower, with his hands and feet bound together. Then, they left the house.

"We walked to get to the car." Englert told News 18. "We just drove, I'm pretty sure, it was to his godfather's house."

Court documents show it was there, at Williams' godfather's house where they grabbed a pic ax and a hatchet, which were later used to beat Jeremy to death.

After getting the tools, Englert said they drove out to County Road 500 North in Tippecanoe County, where Williams began giving orders.

"He walked me, Jeremy, and Carol Ann to the side of the road where he started digging a hole and he stopped digging and told me to dig. That's when I did," Englert said in the 2014 story.

Clear later told jurors she watched for traffic while Englert and Williams beat Gibson to death. The two then buried his body in a shallow grave and dumped the evidence in the Wabash River, according to WLFI archives. Williams later dumped acid on the body. 

Englert's jury trial began more than a year after the crime on Nov. 14 of 2012. Englert pleaded guilty to murder. The jury also found him guilty of six other charges including criminal confinement and conspiracy to commit murder. He was sentenced to 80 years.

Englert's earliest release date is currently set for 2052. Carol Ann Clear was sentenced to 44 years in prison for her role in Gibson's death. She admitted in court she helped murder Gibson.

Antonio Williams was also charged with murder. He died in jail after overdosing on methadone in Jan.  2012.

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