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Jury: Put killer-rapist to death

February 28, 2013

Jurors recommended the death penalty Thursday for a 42-year-old man who raped and stabbed a pregnant woman to death in her Costa Mesa apartment 25 years ago, according to a court official.

Jason Michael Balcom was convicted in March 2012 of raping 22-year-old Malinda Gibbons and stabbing her in the chest in 1988, but the jury at the time deadlocked 10 to 2 on whether he should face the death penalty.

A new jury began its deliberation in the case late Tuesday, and came back with a verdict just before 11 a.m. Thursday, a court official said.

In 1988, Balcom lived at the Ha'Penny Inn, now the Costa Mesa Motor Inn, less than a mile from where Gibbons lived with her husband after relocating to Costa Mesa from Utah a month before her death.

In 2004 murder charges were filed against Balcom while he served a 30- to 50-year sentence for a rape conviction in Michigan. That year his DNA entered a national database, and matched DNA collected from the murder of Malinda Gibbons.

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In 2005 he was extradited from Michigan to Orange County, according to Daily Pilot archives from the time.

Balcom joins 63 other condemned inmates from Orange County of the 731 that sit on California's death row, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

— Lauren Williams

Twitter: @lawilliams30

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