A minister from Michigan was sentenced to 56 years for the murder of his financee’s 24-year-old daughter, allegedly as part of his fantasy of having sex with a dead body.
John D. White, who had already pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the Halloween slaying of Rebekah Gay, was sentenced to a prison term of 56 to 85 years. Isabella County Chief Circuit Judge Paul Chamberlain said believed the minister, who was convicted two other times of attacking women, should never set foot outside of prison again in his life.
The minister sentenced to 56 years for murder had a close relationship with his victim. White often babysat for Gay’s young son, said a member of the small congregation he led at Christ Community Fellowship in Deerfield Township.
Prosecutors said the minister drank several beers and then went to Gay’s mobile home at 2 am on October 31, killing her by striking her in the head with a mallet and then strangling her with a zip-tie, all while her 3-year-old son was home. The minister then dumped Gay’s body in the woods and returned back to get the boy into his Halloween costume.
The minister allegedly killed gay to fulfill his desire to have sex with a dead body. White told police he undressed Gay’s body, but didn’t recall if he had sex with it or not.
Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski said White didn’t seem remorseful for his crime.
“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,” Mioduszewski said. “He just basically said he was attracted to her, thought she was a very cute girl. It’s a crazy, tragic situation.”
At the sentencing, family members recalled the heartbreaking time after White’s disappearance, when search crews combed the forest for her.
“For 20 excruciating hours we prayed that Rebekah” would come home, her mother Sally told the court. “She was not yours to take. How dare you.”
Sally went on to ask the court to show the minister the same lack of mercy that he showed her daughter. In giving the minister 56 years for the murder, Judge Chamberlain seemed to agree.