Appeals court affirms conviction in Rison slaying

The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed the 2014 murder conviction of Jason Tibbs, now 41, for strangling to death his onetime girlfriend Rayna Rison, of LaPorte, in 1993.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Supreme Court will not consider an appeal from the LaPorte man serving 40 years in prison for the 1993 murder of 16-year-old Rayna Rison.

The state's high court voted 4-1 last week to reject Jason Tibbs' requests that it set aside the Sept. 8 Court of Appeals decision unanimously affirming his 2014 conviction and order a new trial.

Justice Robert Rucker, a Gary native, was the sole jurist voting to grant transfer. He did not specify why he thought the Supreme Court should hear Tibbs' appeal.

The decision not to hear it all but assures that Tibbs, 41, will remain in prison until at least 2033, when he'll potentially be eligible for release due to time off for good behavior.

According to court records, Tibbs choked Rison to death on March 26, 1993, near the Pine Lake Veterinary Hospital where she worked, after she declined to rekindle their brief relationship.

Tibbs then weighed down Rison's body and dumped it in a LaPorte County pond where police discovered it a month later.

Rison's murder went unsolved for 15 years until a previously unknown witness contacted cold case investigators.


Statehouse Bureau Chief

Dan is Statehouse Bureau Chief for The Times. Since 2009, he's reported on Indiana government and politics — and how both impact the Region — from the state capital in Indianapolis. He originally is from Orland Park, Ill.