911 caller: Woman tried to burn female victim's body in triple homicide

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — A Gaston County woman was charged with murder late Monday night after authorities discovered three people, including her husband, shot to death at a home in Alexis, police said.

Channel 9 was first on the scene in Alexis, around midnight, where investigators arrested 42-year-old Crystal Gambino after they said she killed her husband, Giovanni Gambino, 40, at their home on Alexis Lucia Road, northeast of Stanley.

Gaston County police said they received a call from a family member around 8 p.m. Monday, concerned about the people living at the home.

Police said Crystal Gambino confessed to killing her husband and two others, who were found naked at the home.

"It's not something we see a lot around here," Gaston County Police Capt. Curtis Rosselle said Wednesday.

Police believe the three victims met online and according to Channel 9's partners at The Gaston Gazette, they were involved in "bedroom activities" inside this home when they were shot and killed.

The Gazette reported that Crystal Gambino went to a family members' house Monday and told them what happened. That family member then called police, eventually meeting officers at Gambinos' house.

According to a 911 call made by a family member, it appears Crystal Gambino intended to burn the body of the woman she suspected of sleeping with her husband.

The caller said Crystal Gambino "has told her family she killed her husband. She caught him sleeping with another woman. She cleaned up the bullet casings and took care of the bodies."

Inside they found Geoffrey Glenn Gilliland, 39, and Giovanni Gambino shot to death.

Officers found a woman, 33-year-old Stephanie Sanchez, dead outside. Before the deadly shooting, Sanchez and Gilliland were living at a $55 per night motel, the Greenleafe Inn on Monroe Road in Charlotte.

Investigators believe Crystal Gambino did not like what was going on between the victims and shot them. She then reportedly picked up her 9-year-old daughter from school and took her to a relative's house.

Police told the Gazette that Gilliland and Sanchez were brought to the Gambino home Monday. Officers did not find a car belonging to them at the home, which made confirming their identities more difficult.

Police believe Gilliland and Sanchez had a relationship before coming to the Gambino home.

Police were checking social media sites to see how Giovanni Gambino may have come to know the other couple.

Crystal Gambino was home when the couple arrived. Investigators said she was not participating in the bedroom activities.

Crystal Gambino made her first appearance in court Tuesday and is being held without bond.

The Gazette reported Crystal Gambino would likely be charged Wednesday in the murders of Sanchez and Gilliland.

She is due in court again on March 21.

Neighbors told Channel 9 they heard several loud bangs from the home early Monday morning but thought noise was a sledge hammer hitting something.

Residents of the small community were shocked by the scandalous details of the horrific crime.

"It just something that don't happen,” Douglas Deese said. “It's kind of devastating you know to have three people killed at one time right in this area."

Channel 9 learned that the Gambinos had one child together and that Crystal Gambino had an adult daughter who was away at college.

One of the people reporter Ken Lemon spoke with Wednesday said he spoke to Giovanni Gambino on Sunday. Giovanni Gambino told him that he thought his wife was going to kill him. The same day, police went to the house responding to a 911 call. Giovanni Gambino told police that he accidentally rolled over on the phone.

Eyewitness News found a 2006 order of protection against Giovanni Gambino, claiming he threatened to hurt Crystal Gambino and himself. The protection order also stated Giovanni Gambino threatened to take their children and she would never see them. The order claimed he kept concealed weapons on him.

Channel 9 also learned that Giovanni Gambino recently served on the Gaston County Planning Board and Travel and Tourism Board. He served on the juvenile crime prevention council with Sheriff Alan Cloninger.

"He was very concerned about making our county a better place," Cloninger told Channel 9 by phone Tuesday.

Candidate for the U.S. House in Louisiana, Elbert Gillory, expressed his disbelief by phone. Giovanni was working on his campaign.

“I don't know what he did in his private time,” Gillory said. “I don't know what he was doing on the evening of his death but as I said, he's my friend.”

It is a bombshell to Teiji Kimball, a congressional candidate in Durham. Giovanni Gambino was his campaign director. He said Giovanni Gambino called his wife daily and seemed to love her.

“It's just not the man that I knew,” Kimball said.

The District Attorney is not wasting any time getting the case against Crystal Gambino moving.

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