Murder suspect in jail on theft of property charge

Published 3:13 pm Tuesday, September 8, 2015

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

A suspect in the murder of a Harpersville man is being held in the Shelby County Jail on a $1 million bond after he was arrested for felony theft of property.

Corey Lane Zito

Corey Lane Zito

Corey Lane Zito, 26, of New Iberia, La., was booked in the Shelby County Jail on Sept. 6 on one Class B felony charge of theft of a motor vehicle. Zito is also a person of interest in the murder of 22-year-old Anthony Shane Gibson of Harpersville.

Gibson was reported missing from Harpersville on July 2, and his badly burned body was later discovered in the woods north of Interstate 20 in Leeds on July 5. On July 8, the Leeds Police Department issued a release requesting public assistance in locating Candie Zito, a person of interest in the murder investigation.

Candie Zito and her cousin, Corey Lane Zito, were apprehended by the Davees County, Ind., Sheriff’s Office on July 11 following a high-speed chase that ended in a wreck. Candy Zito and Corey Lane Zito were in the 1998 white Ford Escort Gibson was last seen driving, a news release from the Leeds Police Department said.

Following his arrest, Corey Lane Zito was transported from Indiana to Louisiana, where he has outstanding felony charges.

“He has charges pending in Louisiana,” Leeds Police Chief Byron Jackson said. “He made bond down there.”

A warrant for Corey Lane Zito’s arrest in Shelby County was granted on Aug. 28, and he was booked in the Shelby County Jail on Sept. 6.

“They knew he was fixing to make bond,” Jackson said. “He was in jail in Louisiana, so they went and got him (there).”

Corey Lane Zito has been charged with felony theft of property for allegedly stealing Gibson’s car. Following the Shelby County District Attorney’s bond recommendation filed in Shelby County Circuit Court, Corey Lane Zito’s bond has been set at $1 million.

“The state believes the defendant poses a real and present danger to the public,” the bond recommendation form read.

According to the District Attorney, Corey Lane Zito has a lengthy violent criminal history of five adult arrests, 12 charges and three felony convictions, including “burglary, burglary of an inhabited dwelling, stalking, felony harassing communications,” two counts of misdemeanor domestic abuse, felony domestic abuse, criminal damage to property, criminal trespass and assault by drive by shooting.

Corey Lane Zito also represents a flight risk, the District Attorney stated in the bond recommendation, noting the defendant “has fled two jurisdictions in order to avoid prosecution” and “the defendant has failed to appear” on several charges in Louisiana.

According to the bond recommendation, Corey Lane Zito allegedly fled Louisiana to Shelby County to avoid prosecution for domestic abuse charges. He then allegedly fled to Indiana in a stolen vehicle belonging to Gibson to avoid prosecution in Alabama.

Corey Lane Zito is currently a person of interest in the investigation of the murder of Gibson, Jackson said.