Walmart Texts Made Paranoid Killer Confess

He thought someone knew his secret after 17 years
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2014 4:24 AM CDT
Updated Sep 25, 2014 5:32 AM CDT
Walmart Texts Made Paranoid Killer Confess
Matthew Gibson is seen in this photo provided by the Winslow Police Department.   (Winslow Police Department)

Matthew Gibson killed a woman in Arizona 17 years ago and he would have gotten away with it ... if it wasn't for Walmart. The 55-year-old—who drove from North Carolina to Arizona to confess—told police that he thought somebody knew about the crime after he started receiving texts and voicemails from Walmart telling him that a prescription for a woman named Anita Townshed was ready, the Charlotte Observer reports. He began to believe that was the name of the woman he had killed after an argument in 1997, and his paranoia increased when he received an advertising letter from Walmart, police say.

"In his own mind … somebody knew what happened after all these years" and he was in "so much fear for his life," a detective in Winslow, Ariz., who found Gibson sobbing in the police station lobby earlier this year tells the Observer. The victim's name was actually Barbara Brown Agnew, and police say they would never have connected Gibson to the killing if he hadn't confessed. When she went missing, her husband told police she'd been kidnapped by a woman, the News & Observer reported last week. Gibson, a former cocaine and meth addict—whose public defender describes him as a "really nice guy"—pleaded guilty to manslaughter last week and is serving a 10-year sentence. (Another 1997 cold case murder may have been solved this year ... thanks to a TV show.)

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