JOHNSTOWN – A man accused in July of shooting and killing his mother at her Ephratah home was arraigned Thursday in Fulton County Court on murder and other charges.
James F. Dibble, 29, was arraigned on charges of second-degree murder and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, two counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, all felonies, and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, a misdemeanor. He was indicted by a county grand jury on the charges on Sept. 19.
Police arrested Dibble July 2 in the death of his mother, Gwenda L. Lisman, 58, who was found July 1 at 11:19 a.m. by a neighbor at Lisman’s home at 227 Mud Road, authorities said.
During his arraignment Thursday before Fulton County Judge Richard C. Giardino, Dibble pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.
Dibble was represented by Gloversville attorney Robert Abdella.
Dibble will appear in court next on Jan. 24 at 9 a.m. Giardino scheduled a tentative trial date of April 28.
During Thursday’s proceeding, Dibble was focused on the table in front of him, only looking up to say “yes sir” to the judge.
This was the first public appearance of Dibble since his arrest. Relatives and friends of the victim attended the proceeding.
“I just want justice for my sister,” said an emotional Denise Barrett as she left the courtroom.
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.
According to the indictment, the killing took place between June 30 and July 1.
Fulton County Sheriff Thomas Lorey previously said Dibble and his mother may have been arguing over money and had a “tumultuous relationship.”
If convicted of second-degree murder, Dibble could face 25 years to life in prison, District Attorney Louise Sira said.
Sira said her office believes the motive of Dibble was clear based on his indictment by a grand jury.
She said they believe he was prompted to kill his mother for financial and material gain.
Sira said she expects this case to go to trial. No plea offers have been made at this time, she said.
The criminal-possession charges stem from Dibble being in possession of stolen property consisting of jewelry belonging to Lisman and NASCAR collectibles belonging to Jeffrey Snell, according to the district attorney’s office.
Dibble is accused of pawning the items for his own benefit, according to the district attorney’s office. According to the indictment, each of the items exceeded $1,000 in value.
The lesser count of criminal possession of stolen property stemmed from the sale of a Husqvarna chainsaw belonging to Snell.
Sira said a .22-caliber rifle was used to shoot the woman. Authorities found a rifle of the same caliber at the scene, and it is believed to be the murder weapon, officials said.
A neighbor reported seeing Lisman at the house on the afternoon of June 30.
Sira said authorities found Dibble on July 2 fishing near School Street in Mayfield and took him into custody without incident. His mother’s Mercedes was in his possession at the scene, Sira said. Dibble was not charged for having the vehicle because authorities could not determine whether he was given permission to use it, Sira said.
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.