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Lawrence man charged with first-degree murder in wife’s death

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‘Jesus Christ is my attorney,’ he tells judge

Article updated at 3:45 p.m. and 4:19 p.m. Tuesday, May 17:

A 26-year-old Lawrence man has been formally charged with first-degree murder after police say he was found with his wife’s mortally wounded body Monday night.

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The victim, Regan Noelle Gibbs (Marek-Gibbs), was 25 years old. She had lived in Lawrence for the last six months, according to a Tuesday news release from Lawrence police.

Regan Gibbs

Police were called to an apartment in the 2500 block of West Sixth Street at 7:26 p.m. Monday, according to a department news release. There, officers found the suspect with Gibbs, who was declared dead at the scene by Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical first responders, according to the news release.

Lawrence police arrested Chad J. Marek, Gibbs’ husband, at the scene. Gibbs and Marek had lived together at the apartment, according to LPD.

He had a first appearance in Douglas County District Court Tuesday afternoon where he was formally charged with first-degree murder. He appeared via video from the Douglas County jail.

Asked if he wanted an attorney appointed to represent him, Marek said “My attorney is Jesus Christ.”

Pro Tem Judge Blake Glover appointed defense attorney John Kerns to represent Marek. Marek said he did not consent to that; Glover said he was appointing Kerns “for now,” and that Marek could take the issue up with the judge at his next court appearance.

Douglas County Deputy District Attorney Joshua Seiden said the state was requesting a $1 million cash or surety bond given the “excessive brutality” of the crime, and because the defendant was adamant that what he did was justified.

Glover agreed to that bond. In addition, if Marek bonds out, he would need to have GPS monitoring, among other conditions.

If convicted, Marek could face up to a life sentence.

Gibbs’ family was notified of her death by late Tuesday morning, according to LPD.

The University of Kansas Athletics website lists Gibbs as a soccer player for the university from 2015 through 2019. She was a goalkeeper, according to her roster page. Prior to that, she graduated from West Valley High School in Yakima, Washington, according to the page.

Gibbs’ social media indicates that she and Marek were wed in November 2021.

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A GoFundMe has been launched to help Gibbs’ family cover her funeral expenses. According to the fundraiser page, Gibbs “had a big heart for the homeless and hoped to go back to school to become a Physicians Assistant to do mission work.”

“Regan had a precious soul and she was loved by everyone who knew her,” the page says. “She is leaving behind her mom and four younger sisters who are heartbroken by this tragic loss.”

The family is not prepared to deal with the unexpected expense, according to the page. As of 4:18 p.m. Tuesday, the fundraiser had reached $480 of its $20,000 goal.

The investigation was ongoing Tuesday, according to the police department’s news release. Police were investigating domestic violence as a contributing factor. “Anyone with information is encouraged to call Lawrence Police Department Investigations at 785-830-7430.”

Marek’s next court hearing is set for 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 24.

Seiden declined to comment for this article.

All arrestees and defendants in criminal cases should be presumed not guilty unless and until they are convicted.

— Andrea Albright and Mackenzie Clark contributed to this article.

Lawrence Times community Lawrence police work at the scene of a murder on May 16, 2022.

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Andrea Albright (she/her), reporter, can be reached at aalbright (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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