New jury to decide sentence for rapist, killer

The penalty phase for a man who raped and killed a pregnant woman in her Costa Mesa apartment is expected to begin Monday, a court official said.

A new jury selected for the penalty phase will decide whether Jason Michael Balcom, 42, should receive the death penalty or life in prison for the 1988 slaying of 22-year-old Malinda Gibbons, who was bound with her husband's neckties and stabbed in the heart. Gibbons had just moved to Costa Mesa from Utah with her husband, and lived less than a mile from where Balcom lived.

At the time, Balcom lived with his mother and aunt at the Ha' Penny Inn, which is now called the Costa Mesa Motor Inn, and had been released from juvenile hall weeks before the attack.

In 2004, Balcom's DNA entered a nationwide database after a rape conviction in Michigan, where he moved with his mother, and his DNA linked him to Gibbons' death. Balcom was serving a 30- to 50-year sentence for a similar offense in Michigan at the time of his extradition to Orange County.

A jury last March convicted Balcom of first-degree murder with sentencing enhancements for murder during the commission of sodomy, rape, robbery and burglary but deadlocked 10 to 2 on whether to give Balcom the death penalty and a mistrial was declared.

The case is expected to last through the end February.

— Lauren Williams

Twitter: @lawilliams30

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