Man convicted of killing friend ordered to prison for life

The word “JUSTICE” was printed on the front and back of the T-shirt that Rosie Triplett wore to court Friday for the sentencing of the man convicted of fatally shooting her only son, former Clinton High School and Southern University football player Silas Gibbs, two years ago.

State District Judge Tony Marabella ordered Walter Fort, 24, of Zachary, to spend the rest of his life in prison for killing Gibbs while the two men rode March 3, 2012, in a car with two others on Interstate 110 South in Baton Rouge near the Chippewa Street exit.

“That’s what I was looking for. We wanted justice out of this situation,” Triplett said after court.

She also said it’s consoling to know that Fort, who was a friend and cousin of her 24-year-old son, won’t be able to harm another family.

“I forgive him, but I’ll never forget what he did to my son,” Triplett added. She said her son’s two young daughters live with their mother.

The shirt Triplett wore Friday also said “Mama’s Love” on the front and had pictures of her son in his Clinton High and Southern football uniforms.

Fort maintained his innocence at his sentencing, saying he was wrongly convicted and vowing to appeal his Dec. 12 second-degree murder conviction.

Gibbs was shot five times in the head while sitting in the front passenger seat of the car. The driver and another passenger testified Fort shot Gibbs for no apparent reason.

Fort’s trial attorney, Tommy Damico, argued to the jury that Fort was justified in shooting Gibbs. Fort testified he shot Gibbs after Gibbs and another man in the car tried to rob him.

Triplett said she believes Fort killed her son out of jealousy.

Gibbs, a Clinton native living in Baker at the time of his death, was named to The Advocate’s All-Metro football team and was the offensive most valuable player in his district in his junior and senior years in 2006 and 2007. He rushed for 1,619 yards and 27 touchdowns on 217 carries as a senior, helping Clinton to the Class 2A semifinals.

Gibbs ran for 277 yards for Southern in 2008 but was academically ineligible in 2009 — the year his father died — before leaving the team in 2010.