Candie Zito, 31, of Chelsea, Alabama, was formally indicted in the murder of ex-boyfriend Anthony Shane Gibson of Harpersville, Alabama, on February 22. Twenty-two-year-old Gibson was last seen alive July 2, 2015, as he drove his grandmother’s white 1998 Ford Escort to a nearby store. Three days after being reported missing, Gibson’s badly burnt remains were discovered by a group of individuals in Markeeta County on the evening of July 5 in a wooded area. The Leeds County Police Department was promptly notified.
An ensuing autopsy report determined that Gibson was shot once before being lit on fire. When Gibson’s remains had been discovered, words such as “shocking” and “gruesome” were used to describe the decedent’s final resting state.
Murder suspect Candie Zito back in Alabama https://t.co/MtGHZqDRq2 pic.twitter.com/ixzaYYwNPO
— WVTM 13 (@WVTM13) November 25, 2015
News of this horrific act of violence shook the sleepy southern town of just under 12,000 residents, many of whom are still in disbelief that a crime this graphic in nature could take place in their midst.
According to an October 2015 press release by the Leeds County Police Department, an investigation suggested that Gibson was shot and killed at the home of Zito’s parents. From there, the release goes on to state that Gibson’s body was transported to Leeds County, where the decedent was dumped and burned.
Authorities named Zito as a “person of interest” early in the investigation. Attempting to stay off of police radar, Candie Zito traveled to her grandmother’s Indiana home. However, upon learning of the tragic news, Zito’s grandmother made a tell-tale phone call to local police identifying her granddaughter’s whereabouts. Immediately upon learning law enforcement had been notified, both Candie Zito and her 26-year-old cousin Cory fled the residence.
After receiving the APB, Daviess County Sheriff’s deputies promptly identified the Zitos driving the stolen Ford Escort that Mr. Gibson had last been seen alive in. Upon attempting to apprehend both Candie and Cory Zito in a Dollar General parking lot, the Zito’s fled, leading county law enforcement on a 20-minute high-speed chase.
After the barreling chase finally came to an injurious conclusion in Shoals County, the two cousins were transported by helicopter to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, Indiana. Following her emergency surgery and release into police custody on July 14, Candie Zito was additionally charged with resisting law enforcement and possession of stolen property.
Here’s the new mug of Candie Zito – wanted for Alabama man’s death. pic.twitter.com/NT7h9dTsNt
— Eric Stidman (@EricStidmanNews) July 15, 2015
Cory Zito’s release from the same hospital came on September 6, and as of now Mr. Zito only faces charges stemming from the theft of Mr. Gibson’s car. However, Zito is listed in the official court records as a murder suspect. While currently incarcerated in the Shelby County Jail, Candie and Cory Zito have bond set at $1 million each.
According to the Shelby County Reporter, the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office claims Zito (Candie) “poses a real and present danger to the public,” citing Zito’s lengthy criminal history which includes 15 arrests stemming from domestic abuse, child endangerment, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary, and unlawful possession of a controlled substance.
Furthermore, according to the Shelby County Reporter, Candie Zito was classified as a flight risk.
“The defendant is a flight risk in that she has fled three jurisdictions in order to avoid prosecution.” Additionally, the defendant has failed to appear on several of the above recited charges in Louisiana.”
According to AL.com, although Candie Zito’s indictment was just recently made public, a Shelby County Grand Jury originally handed down the verdict on February 8.
Concerning Gibson’s family, WIAT.com reports, “It’s been really hard on me the mother, aunts, cousins, the whole family is just in awe and lost.”
Both Candie and Cory Zito are set to be arraigned on March 14.
[Image Courtesy of Mark Wilson/Getty Images]