Powder Springs, Georgia, detectives suspected 23-year-old Danielle Marshall’s ex-boyfriend Josh Gibson from the beginning in her 2013 shooting death, but justice wouldn’t come until 2018, after a bizarre break in the case revealed the depths of Gibson’s ruthlessness.
Gibson fathered a baby, Eva, with Marshall just before their break-up, but they remained friendly and he often visited Marshall’s home in the suburban outskirts of Atlanta, according to “In Ice Cold Blood” on Oxygen.
Just after midnight on Jan. 13, 2013, Gibson called 911 from outside Marshall’s house. He hadn’t been able to get a response from her, the house was locked, and he could hear his baby crying inside, he told the dispatcher. But when police arrived, they simply entered through a back door they found ajar, investigators told “In Ice Cold Blood.”
Inside, Marshall was on her kitchen floor in a pool of blood in the fetal position. Baby Eva was given to Marshall’s devastated mother, Gloria.
Detectives were skeptical that Gibson, if genuinely concerned for his baby, wouldn’t have tried to get into the house through the back door. An examination of Gibson’s phone records, however, appeared to corroborate his story about texting and calling Marshall several times before heading over. His phone didn’t ping towers in the vicinity of Marshall’s home until around the time he called.
Detectives recovered a bullet from the wall of the home and took an interest in another bullet hole in Gibson’s car: He said that a few days before, he had been randomly shot at while he was in his car with his other children. Both bullets were analyzed and found to have come from the same gun. Detectives wondered if someone was after both Marshall and Gibson.
Investigators found that there was an intense rivalry between Marshall and Gibson’s current girlfriend and questioned another ex-boyfriend of Marshall’s, but both had alibis that checked out.
Powder Springs Police Detective Amy Randolph again questioned Gibson, aggressively pulling at threads in his account — “None of your stories make sense,” she exclaims to Gibson in police interview footage featured on “In Ice Cold Blood.”
After six months, however, investigators seemingly hit a wall they couldn’t penetrate.
“I had a strong suspicion it was Josh, but because of the cellphone tower records, I could not put him there at that time,” Randolph told producers.
The investigation was filed as a cold case after a year, according to AJC Atlanta News.
In 2015, however, the county district attorney’s office formed a new unit to dig into cold cases and Marshall’s was first on the list. Investigators went back to the phone records, this time looking closer at Gibson’s girlfriend. Comparing the couple’s calls, they found a common number that they hadn’t yet probed.
They sprang a surprise interview on the man and eventually got what they needed from him. He had allegedly driven with Gibson to Marshall’s home on the night of the murder on the promise of a threesome. Marshall wasn’t interested, the man told investigators, and he and Gibson left her home — but not before Gibson walked back inside for something.
Investigators realized that Gibson had used his girlfriend’s phone to arrange the meeting with his friend in order to stave off suspicion. And when he walked back into the house that night, he most likely shot Danielle before going home, making several calls to his ex, then returning to her house and calling 911. The bullet hole in his car was also likely a ruse to throw off investigators.
The district attorney told investigators they had enough to prosecute and Gibson was arrested in September 2015, charged with murder, aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm in the commission of a crime, according to AJC.
Those wouldn’t be the last charges against Gibson. Before he went to trial, police got a tip from an inmate at the jail where he was housed, warning them that Gibson was soliciting someone on the outside to harm his friend before he could testify against him. Some of the investigators were also targeted.
“I was on a hit list,” Randolph told producers.
Although police were doubtful that Gibson could have pulled off the hits from jail, he was also charged with solicitation of murder, Assistant District Attorney Jesse Evans told producers.
During his February 2018 trial, Gibson announced in court that he would change his plea to guilty. As he addressed the court, he turned and backhanded one of his defense attorneys, causing an uproar in the courtroom and voiding his plea.
On Feb. 9, 2018, after less than an hour, a jury found him guilty on all counts.
Gibson would later die in prison after throwing himself over a second-floor railing, causing a brain bleed, according to “In Ice Cold Blood.”
“I wanted him to sit in jail every day,” Marshall’s mother, Gloria, told producers. “And I didn’t get that.”
For more on Danielle Marshall’s murder investigation, watch “In Ice Cold Blood” at Oxygen.com and airing Thursdays at 9/8c.
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.