The two-week murder trial for 28-year-old Taybronne White wrapped up Tuesday with the Greene County jury recommending a 76-year sentence. White was convicted of shooting and killing Brian Lee Daniels, Dustin Knighton and Lisa Hwang in May 2011. Police say he murdered them after a botched home invasion and robbery on Ford Avenue, just over a mile away from where their bodies were found on Octonia Road.
White was found guilty Monday of 10 felony charges, including three counts of murder. The jury unanimously recommended a 76-year sentence. (See below for a breakdown of sentencing recommendation.)
Daniels' father Robert says he was satisfied with the verdict, but wanted more from the punishment phase. "I'm fully convinced that they have the right man - not just from the evidence but from people who I'm surprised did not come forward," he said. "The only thing I would have like to have seen is remorse - an apology."
White's father, Alonzo Cutchin, says the justice system is at fault and he knew his son would never get a fair trial in Greene County. "We got to get him out of Greene County because there's no justice here," he stated. "Greene County promotes injustice. Greene County promotes corruption - police corruption. Anytime a judge can see this type of stuff takes place and he don't dismiss this case - you know something is wrong."
Greene County's Commonwealth's Attorney Ronald Morris says the judge and jury made the right call. "I think justice was done in this case. I think the verdicts were appropriate, just, and gave justice to the victims, gave justice to the families of the victims and gave justice to the defendant," he said.
Cutchin emphasizes that the legal battle isn't over. "We're going to appeal," he said. "We're going to fight until the highest court. We're not giving up - I mean they violated every constitutional right my son has."
"Mr. Cutchin has his son. I don't," Robert Lee Daniels said.
Before the case was turned back over to the jury Tuesday, the commonwealth presented evidence and the defense called on witnesses to testify about the years of sexual assault White endured as a child. A social worker and a captain with the Greene County Sheriff's Office testified that White was the victim of rape and sodomy at the hands of a foster father between 1996 and 1999. The officer revealed that the Greene County man was convicted of handcuffing White to a bed and sexually assaulting him as much as once a week for about four years.
In the closing arguments during this punishment phase, the commonwealth's attorney told the jury the background circumstances were "no excuse, no justification for committing the crimes".
White's attorney said that they could never really know all the details and asked the jury to consider returning a minimum sentence for the charges.
Now it's up to a judge to decide on the final sentence. He cannot sentence White to more than the 76 years that the jury recommended. White's final sentencing is scheduled for January 15, 2014 at 9:30 a.m.
Jury Recommended Sentencing Breakdown:
25 years for the first-degree murder of Lisa Hwang
10 years for the second-degree murder of Brian Lee Daniels
5 years for the second-degree murder of Dustin Knighton
20 years for statutory burglary
3 years for using a firearm during the commission of the first-degree murder of Lisa Hwang
3 years for using a firearm during the commission of the second-degree murder of Brian Lee Daniels
3 years for using a firearm during the commission of the second-degree murder of Dustin Knighton
3 years for using a firearm during the commission of attempted robbery
2 years for attempted robbery
2 years for possession of firearm by convicted felon.
Greene Jury Recommends 76 Years for Taybronne WhiteMore>>