Authorities unveil details of fatal Ephratah shooting

EPHRATAH – A man charged Monday with killing his mother used a .22-caliber rifle to shoot her at her home, authorities said.

James F. Dibble, 29, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of his mother, Gwenda L. Lisman, 57, who was found Monday by a neighbor at Lisman’s home at 227 Mud Road, authorities said.

Authorities said Dibble shot his mother in the head with a rifle she borrowed from a neighbor to deal with a rodent problem in her garden.

Officials late Monday afternoon were looking for Dibble, who had been last seen driving Lisman’s 1997 green Mercedes, officials said. State police later found him in the vehicle on School Street in Mayfield and took him into custody without incident, Fulton County Sheriff Thomas Lorey said. Lorey said said he was unaware of what Dibble was doing in the Mayfield area.

Dibble was arraigned around 2:20 a.m. before Fulton County Judge Richard C. Giardino and sent to the Fulton County Jail without bail, Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira said.

Dibble invoked his Fifth Amendment rights, preventing authorities from interviewing him, Lorey said.

Lorey said Dibble and his mother may have been arguing in recent days over money.

“The mother and son had a tumultuous relationship,” Lorey said.

Officials said Lisman’s house was in disarray when law-enforcement officials went through it Monday. Lorey said he couldn’t say whether anything was missing from the residence.

If convicted of second-degree murder, Dibble could face 25 years to life in prison, Sira said.

She said he will appear in Fulton County Court on Friday at 9:30 a.m. for a preliminary hearing. He is being represented by public defender Gerard McAuliffe.

Lorey said Dibble’s case will go to a grand jury. Dibble could face more charges, authorities said.

Authorities said no one has come forward stating they heard shots fired. Officials are asking anyone who may have heard something to report it to the Sheriff’s Department.

“Of course, a .22-caliber rifle is a small-caliber gun, and it doesn’t make a large noise when fired, but it is possible, given how close the community is in that small area,” Sira said.

Lorey would not say whether the weapon has been recovered.

Lorey wouldn’t say how many shots were fired.

Lorey said he believes Dibble was at the house Sunday night, although authorities are still investigating when Lisman was shot. He said Lisman and Dibble were the only people living at the residence. A neighbor reported seeing Lisman at the house Sunday afternoon.

Lorey said he was unaware of whether his department had been called to the house for any domestic disputes in the past.

He said Dibble had been arrested previously, but he didn’t have specifics on charges.

“He has been an inmate at our correctional facility in the past,” Lorey said.

Lorey said Dibble lived at the residence with his mother “off and on.” He couldn’t say where Dibble may have lived when he wasn’t living with his mother. He described Dibble as a “transient sort of character.”

“It is unclear as to when he would come and go, but at the time of this incident, he was residing at that residence,” Sira said at a news conference Tuesday.

Lisman was a member of the Johnstown Women of the Moose, according to her obituary. She was employed at Lexington Center for 15 years until her retirement. Graveside services will be conducted Saturday in Port Ewen, N.Y., the obituary said.

“We are continuing to gather evidence in the case and we are continuing to ask the public who may have any knowledge of the family relationship to contact us,” Lorey said. “Any information they give us will be held in confidence.”

Those with information are advised to call the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department at 736-2100.

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