Dead or Alive: Wanetta Gibson


This week's Dead or Alive is probably going to be a tough one. With all the news about my brother Brian Banks it's kind of hard not to indulge in what others are saying. Everyone is moved by his story, his strength and his ability to rid himself of bitterness towards his accuser.  After the news hit about Brian’s exoneration I could not help but to think about my brother’s accuser. What is she thinking now? How is she emotionally? Weird huh? My co-worker asked me a simple yet difficult question to answer; if there could be anything you would say to her, what would it be? So today’s Dead or Alive is for Wanetta Gibson.   

During the 10 years of emotional, repressed hell, I have had time to recover and somewhat heal from the madness Ms. Gibson put my family through.  However, I think the first thing I would ask her, of course, is why? I want to know what exactly went through her mind that summer day. What made her decide to tell a lie to all of the authorities? What made her continue the lie that far?

Given the chance to speak to this young lady I would feel obligated to tell her exactly what her lies meant for my family. I would tell her that she interrupted our “move on up”.  My family was in the midst of celebrating. The police officers yanked my brother out of our brand new home.  My mother had just purchased her own piece of property and with that one lie, it was gone. I inform Ms. Gibson that my mom had to sell her house to fund Brian’s legal affairs. Not only did she have to sell her house, she had to sell her  new car as well. We were doing so good.

If I had the opportunity, I would recount the first day we (Mom, Brandon and I) visited Brian in prison, an experience I will never forget. We had to rent a car. We drove 4 hours up, all the way to San Luis Obispo. We stood in line for over an hour. Then our clothes were inspected up and down (strict dress codes). Once we finally got in we waited for a few more minutes. When Brian came out it was one of the most bittersweet moments we had ever probably experienced. Good to see him but sad to see him under these circumstances. The smell of the visiting facility reeked of over buttered popcorn, cheap buffalo wing sauce and sweaty bodies.

I wonder if Ms. Gibson knows that my youngest brother was taunted internally and externally at school on several occasions. Did she know or care that he dropped out of school because he couldn’t face the fact that his brother was incarcerated for a heinous crime we knew he was not capable of committing?

These things would not be brought up to make Wanetta feel bad or feel some sort of remorse.  They would be brought to her attention to show her that life and death really are in the power of the tongue. Her tongue brought death to our family. With words she brought over a dark cloud for years.

Finally I would thank her. For what? For coming forward to tell the truth. I would thank her because even though she lied, there was something in her that made her finally step up and declare what we knew all along; Brian did not do the things she said he did. I would tell her that my mother raised Bible believing, God fearing children. She taught us not to fight fire with fire. She instilled in us the power of forgiveness; that without we cannot move on.

Afforded the chance to meet Wanetta Gibson, I would tell her that she is forgiven, she is not judged by me but she will reap what she has sowed.  I would urge her to find Christ and to allow Him to right all of her wrongs.

Dead or Alive, Wanetta Gibson, I want to meet you.