Accused child killer faces arraignment in case of abused twins from Ecorse

Posted at 5:23 PM, Oct 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-19 21:43:18-04

ECORSE, Michigan (WXYZ) — On July 28, Ecorse police responded to a call and found twin 1-year-old boys beaten. Doctors pronounced one of them dead at the hospital. Eighty-three days have passed and for those 83 days, family members have been asking when someone will be arraigned on murder charges. That happened Monday at 25th District Court.

James Edward Gibson, 34, walked in shackles into court to be arraigned on murder and first-degree child abuse charges for the death of 1-year-old Zyaire Reed. This comes after he was charged on Sept. 23 with first-degree child abuse, accused of beating Zyaire’s twin brother Zion until he suffered life threatening injuries. Gibson’s attorney entered a plea of not guilty.

“He does have the presumption of innocence. He has indicated to me there are defensible issues in the matter,” said David Bogard, Defense Attorney.

The twin boy's aunt described the horrific things they went through.

“Zyaire’s life was ripped from him and his brother Zion was badly abused and beaten, to the point where he was wearing almost a full body cast for almost a month,” said Jennifer Reed, the boys' aunt.

Reed says waiting months for charges was excruciating. She says what happened to her nephews never should have happened. If you look at Gibson’s Michigan Department of Corrections record, you will see he would have been in prison serving a 13-year sentence for carjacking, had he not been released a few months early due to COVID-19. He then moved in with the twins’ mom, who he knew before he went to prison.

In a twist of tragic irony, on Oct. 19, the day he faced arraignment on murder charges, is also the day he should have, if all went as originally planned, been released from prison.

Gibson asked for bond during the arraignment, but the judge denied it.

In early September, Reed voiced concerns that charges had not been filed. She worried he would be released. At the time, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office said it was waiting for more evidence and a full autopsy report. Autopsies of children who are abused can take much longer than autopsies of adults. Time-consuming technologies are used to create a timeline of when injuries happened.

A short time after Reed voiced concerns, Gibson was charged with child abuse for what happened to Zion. Reed says it is a relief to see him charged in connection to what happened to both boys.

“I am so glad that we pushed hard to get those charges brought earlier, because I can’t imagine the stress and anxiety we would have faced waiting until today,” she said.

The mother of the boys, Lisa Reed, is also facing charges of child abuse for what happened to Zion and is scheduled to be arraigned on murder and abuse charges for what happened to Zyaire as soon as Thursday. Police say they believe Gibson physically hurt the children. They believe their mother did not do enough to protect them from from Gibson.