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Pastor charged in killing of fiancee's daughter

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 10:03 a.m. HST, Nov 03, 2012

BROOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. » As police frantically worked to figure out how his fiancée's 24-year-old daughter had vanished, a Michigan pastor who had turned to God to shed his violent past went to his flock with a request: pray for her.

But all along, authorities say, he knew the sordid truth about where the young mother was.

The pastor, ex-convict John D. White, later confessed to killing the woman to fulfill a fantasy of necrophilia, police said Friday. White drank four or five beers before going to the woman's mobile home and repeatedly striking her head with a mallet and strangling her with a zip tie, according to court documents.

He said he stripped her dead body but does not remember if he carried out his sexual fantasy. After dumping her body, White returned to the mobile home and dressed her 3-year-old son in his Halloween costume, then later Wednesday morning ferried him to a store parking lot to be picked up by the boy's father.

"He kept saying he's a bad person, he's a pastor, he felt bad for the people in his church. ... I don't recall him bring real remorseful at all with regard to the victim or anything else," Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski told The Associated Press.

"He just basically said he was attracted to her, thought she was a very cute girl. It's a crazy, tragic situation," the sheriff added.

The case shocked the pastor's roughly 14-member congregation and raised questions about how a man who had found religion after a criminal past could return to his dark past.

White was in jail without bond Friday, a day after he was charged with first-degree murder in Rebekah Gay's death in a rural area in Isabella County, 85 miles northwest of Lansing. The 55-year-old has asked for a court-appointed attorney.

White was engaged to Gay's mother and regularly watched her young son while she worked, said Donna Houghton, a church elder who had a role in hiring White three years ago to be pastor at Christ Community Fellowship. Church members, she said, were "absolutely floored" by the allegations.

"I protested his innocence until I had the absolute news that he confessed. Then he had no leg to stand on," she told the AP.

Before his arrest Thursday, White called Houghton to ask that she contact other church members and start a prayer chain for Gay, who still was missing at the time.

"He was pretty shook up. He said the police were giving him a hard time," Houghton said.

White confessed that day after being told the woman's body was likely to deteriorate in the cold, wet weather, Mioduszewski said. He said his fantasy had been fueled by pornographic videos.

Houghton said the congregation was aware of White's criminal past when he joined the church. He was released from prison in 2007, after serving nearly 12 years for manslaughter in the death of a 26-year-old woman in Kalamazoo County, according to the Michigan Corrections Department.

He had previously been sentenced to probation for choking and stabbing a 17-year-old Battle Creek girl in 1981.

"He was absolutely contrite," said Houghton, 76. "All kinds of people turn around and meet the Lord and they are a different person. He was doing a lot of good in the community. ... He was doing a lot of good and Satan did not want him doing good and Satan got to him."

She said White got on her roof and cleaned her neglected gutters last week, a chore that inspired his Sunday talk. She recalled him saying during that sermon that "we need to check closely the seeds we sprout in ourselves. Nothing can be hidden from God."

White reported from Detroit. AP News Researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.

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allie wrote:
on November 2,2012 | 06:20AM
ejkorvette wrote:
An Abomination!!! His punishment will be beyond his fantasies ever imagined!!!!
on November 2,2012 | 06:39AM
FreeRadical wrote:
A wolf in sheep's clothing. " I don't remember " Yeah right. Once a con always a con.
on November 2,2012 | 06:45AM
Sid_Hartha wrote:
A 14-member church is called a cult.
on November 2,2012 | 06:47AM
AmbienDaze wrote:
any relation to john white of prp? that train is like a gigantic phallic symbol.
on November 2,2012 | 06:54AM
silvangold wrote:
hahahahaha nicely put!
on November 2,2012 | 07:32AM
Macadamiamac wrote:
THree cheers for 'the man of God!' Hip, hip, hooray! (That's sarcasm for youse illiterarii) May goodness and mercy follow you through the rest of your days– and burn in H thereafter.
on November 2,2012 | 09:17AM
Compassionate_Cat wrote:
As the saying goes you can't judge a book by it's cover and in many instances churches are being victimized because of a lack of good judgement. Not judging others is poor judgement, people must use skill in vetting members and staff or they are putting themselves and the public at risk. We have to deny service to people who have a history of abuse regardless of forgiving their sins, to do otherwise is really stupid. They have a temptation problem so help them avoid areas where this is going to come up. It could take a lifetime to rid a person of their evil side and it is not the obligation of a church to GIVE them the opportunity to be tested.
on November 2,2012 | 09:18AM
Waikiki2012 wrote:
oh my God. my heart aches with pain for this horrible horrible story and the futility of it. Mans inhumanity to man is neverending it seems. Ugh.
on November 2,2012 | 10:16AM
bullturd wrote:
Whot A Country...Freedom of Religion, no matter at what cost, and whose life it takes.
on November 2,2012 | 10:26AM
hawaiikone wrote:
on November 2,2012 | 03:38PM
bullturd wrote:
Nah...he seved his time, give him another chance, and another until the turd hits the fan then it's "OMG" we hired a monster! Where did we go wrong by hiring this monster?
on November 2,2012 | 10:30AM
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