- Associated Press - Thursday, October 30, 2014

ALEDO, Ill. (AP) - An Illinois man convicted of killing his estranged wife pleaded guilty earlier this week because he “couldn’t deal with it” anymore, he told a Moline newspaper.

William “Pete” White Jr. bludgeoned Melissa White to death with a crowbar outside their Viola home three years ago. White spoke with The (Moline) Dispatch (https://bit.ly/1rWCdfZ ) on Wednesday, his legs shackled in the visiting room at the Mercer County jail.

“One day, I was sitting in my cell. I was just tired of things. I just jumped up and told them I wanted to talk. I was ready.”

White accepted a deal with prosecutors and entered a guilty plea Monday. The first-degree murder charge was filed by the Mercer County state’s attorney’s office earlier this month.

“I took her life. I lied and l lied, and I lied about what I had done and where I was,” he said.

Although White said he doesn’t blame anyone or anything else for his actions, drugs and alcohol played a role.

“I hid it from her for a while. You know, you can’t hide it from loved ones forever. They’re the first ones to know,” he said. “Again, selfishness. I couldn’t stop drinking, and the drinking would always lead to the drugs. Coke. Anything. Anything a person had.”

White has about 60 felony and misdemeanor convictions on his record, including six related to driving under the influence and 11 related to driving on a revoked license, according to Mercer County Assistant State’s Attorney Meeghan Lee. He served 18 months in prison for driving with a revoked license and driving under the influence in Henry County before he returned home to Viola in 2010.

White said he planned to get his life together when he was released from prison, but he spiraled out of control yet again. His relationship with his wife began to deteriorate and she eventually filed for a restraining order.

White said he had taken narcotics and drank heavily on the night his wife was killed.

“I went there for the sole purpose of breaking into her garage,” he said. “There were things in there she wasn’t letting me have. As petty as it is, there was an old stereo of my dad’s I wanted out of there.”

White declined to comment about what happened at the house, but he said the murder wasn’t premeditated.

“From the moment that it happened, I couldn’t believe what I had done,” Mr. White said. “Over the next few days, they didn’t come and arrest me. I had thought, well, maybe they don’t know. Maybe I can get away with it.

“As time went by after I killed her, I convinced myself that, you know, maybe I wasn’t guilty of murder. First-degree murder means you intentionally went there with the sole purpose of taking someone’s life. That wasn’t my purpose.”

White was sentenced to 25 years in prison and will be 71 on his scheduled release date.

___

Information from: The Dispatch, https://www.qconline.com


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