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Minister convicted in slaying found hanged in cell


  • John D. White entered the courtroom of Isabella County Chief Circuit Judge Paul H. Chamberlain, in Mount Pleasant, Mich., for his sentencing in the murder of Rebekah Gay. Officials at the Michigan Reformatory in Ionia found White about 4 a.m. today suffering from self-inflicted asphyxiation. (AP Photo/The Saginaw News-MLive.com, Jeff Schrier)
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IONIA, Mich. » The former minister of a small Michigan church who allegedly told police he killed his fiancée’s 24-year-old daughter because he wanted to have sex with a dead body has killed himself.

Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan told the Morning Sun of Mount Pleasant that 56-year-old John D. White hanged himself in his cell at the Michigan Reformatory in Ionia. He says White was pronounced dead early Wednesday after efforts to resuscitate him failed.

White pleaded guilty in March to second-degree murder in the death of his fiancée’s daughter, Rebekah Gay. Police say he said he killed the young mother to fulfill a desire to have sex with a dead body.

White was sentenced to at least 56 years in prison. He was minister of a tiny Deerfield Township church.

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