Convicted killer William “Pete” White of Viola, Illinois, says he was under the influence of a case of beer and pain pills the day he beat his estranged wife to death with a crowbar.
“I had a crowbar to break into the garage. That’s when it just went wrong,” he said in a jailhouse interview at the Mercer County Jail, the day after he pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.
White says he had ignored an order of protection filed by Melissa White, and trespassed on the property to get some property of his out of the garage.
He says he swung the crowbar once to ward off the family dog, and hit Melissa once.
Then again. And again.
“I swung and I was swinging and, God knows, I don’t remember swinging,” he said.
“I loved Melissa with all my heart. It was not intentional,” he said.
White said he remembers taking off and throwing his bloody clothes in ditches just outside of town.
He said he decided to confess and plead guilty to the crime, after three years of denial, because of police pressure, a guilty conscience, and repeated nightmares.
“I was just tired, mentally strung out, thinking about this. My kids coming to me in my sleep, Melissa coming to me in my sleep. Screaming, ‘I love you! Why!?'” White said.
White’s plea deal called for him to spend the next 25 years in prison.
“Why couldn’t I stop drinking for my wife and my kids? I was hooked on the pills too, by then. Somebody like me, if you’re lonely in the head, lonely in your heart, you’ll stop at nothing to keep from losing everything you’ve got. I just didn’t want to lose her. Doing drugs, not coming home at night for days, spending our money. She always forgave me. I put her through so much from the day we met,” White said.
“But, I’m not a monster.”