BIRMINGHAM, AL – The suspect in the murder of a lady trucker told police officers that he “killed a white lady” and that “Trump made him do it.”
The above is the testimony that took place Wednesday in a Jefferson County courtroom.
In the hearing, Charles Levester Gipson, 39, was being charged with murder for the Aug. 19 killing of 53-year-old trucker Christine Summers. During the time of the gruesome murder, Summers was driving for RTR Transportation.
Summers’ body was found near her truck at about 3:20 a.m. Aug. 19 on the side of I-59/20 near the Valley Road exit. The body was discovered by a fellow trucker, Ozell Johnson.The scene was shocking – her dentures were knocked out of her mouth, and she suffered a fatal head injury.
Gipson was arrested just an hour later near Allison Bonnet Memorial Drive. During the arrest, Gipson was naked, bloody, and shouted incoherent things, including “Trump made me do it.”
Gipson’s episodes of extreme violence did not end with the arrest. At the Wednesday hearing, Gipson was not present. Bessemer Cutoff Circuit Judge David Carpenter informed the court that the defendant had other incidents after his arrest, including attacking two police officers and flooding his jail cell. The last incident, according to Carpenter, was Gipson attacking a jailer.
Carpenter stated that Gipson is too “unstable” and “dangerous”, both to himself and others, to have him present in the court.
The case of the murder is being prosecuted by assistant district attorneys Jerry Carter and Brent Butler. Summer’s husband, who is disabled, was following the proceedings via Zoom from his home.
Testimonies included that of State Bureau of Investigation Agent Vincent Cunningham’s. He testified the timeline of events that took place on the day of the arrest.
According to his testimony, Cunningham arrived at I-59/20 at about 6:15 a.m. He found Summers on her back and covered up near her truck. Multiple law enforcement agencies were at the scene at that point, including Hueytown police, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, and Alabama State Troopers.
Cunningham added that there was a scribble in the dirt of the back of the truck that stated “Trump 2020.”
Police investigation points out that Summers did call 911. During the call, she told the dispatcher that there was a black male walking on the interstate. Summers added that she thought she may have hit him. She got out of the truck to investigate while still being on the phone with 911. The last thing the dispatcher heard from Summers was when she began to scream “Get away from me.”
During Gipson’s arrest, officers reported that he was naked, his right fist bruised and bleeding, and was sweating profusely. Cunningham reported that Gipson kept making statements about “killing a white woman” and that Trump made him do it. The paramedic at the scene who treated Gipson confirmed that Gipson said similar things to them as well.
Testimonies continued regarding Gipson’s attack on two police officers. This attack prompted Cunnigham to stop interviews with Gipson until the next day after the officers attack. When the next day interview took place, Gipson said that a person named “Drew” made him strip naked and took his clothes.
The existence of this “Drew” person is yet to be proven.
Gipson did not say he killed anyone during this interview. He stated that he injured his fist by punching a wall during an argument with his girlfriend.
The girlfriend’s mother, who did not allow police into her home, said that Gipson did punch a wall, but was not injured with lacerations and was no bleeding from that incident.
Cunningham confirmed that investigators recovered a palm print that matched Gipson’s from the victim’s truck. DNA tests are still in a forensic testing phase.
Gipson’s clothes were not recovered, but he still had his phone with him during the arrest.
Cunningham added that Gipson told him that he was on the interstate trying to get to his mother’s home in Tuscaloosa. Gipson continually changed his story. One such story was that someone was trying to kill his family.
Alongside the murder charges, Gipson also faces charges for destruction of state property. Authorities said that Gipson used his jail bedding to clog up the toilet in his cell, resulting in flooding that caused approx. $1,700 in damages to the jail.
On Wednesday, the judge ordered that there is is enough evidence against Gipson for all four charges (the murder, the attack on the two officers, the flooding of his cell, and the attack on the jailer) to be bound over to a grand jury for indictment consideration.
Gipson is also to be sent to Taylor Harding for mental competency testing. His attorney, Victor Revill, said that should Gipson be indicted, he will plead not guilty by reason of mental defect.
Gipson’s record includes arrests on rape, burglary, and animal cruelty. All these charges were dismissed.