Martha White, a 63-year-old grandmother from Tallahassee, Florida, has been charged with first-degree murder for allegedly stabbing her seven-year-old grandson to death, Tallahassee Democrat reports.
Mason Rhinehart, 6 and his brother, 8, were playing video games at their house in Killearn Lakes Plantation when White reportedly called the two children, telling them that she had a surprise waiting for them. According to the probable cause affidavit, White took six-year-old Rhinehart into the bathroom and locked the door, leaving Mason’s older brother outside.
Mason was reportedly heard pleading: “I don’t want to die. Please don’t kill me”, as his older brother tried but failed to rescue him from their grandmother.
After the alleged murder, Mason’s brother witnessed Martha leaving the house, carrying a bottle of wine with her. Before she left their residence, White allegedly told her remaining grandson that she also had a surprise waiting for him.
The older brother, who was not named by sources, called his father and hid. Within five minutes, emergency responders arrived to discover Mason lying on the bathroom floor with multiple stab wounds to the chest. White was not at the house when the first responders arrived, but the parents of the victim told them that she was with the children when the crime occurred.
Martha White was found half a mile from the house in Killearn Lakes Plantation at the dead end of Valley Creek Drive. She was covered in blood when officers took her under their custody. White was carrying with her the bottle of wine described by Mason’s brother and a single Xanax.
White was taken to a hospital, where she was cleared of any injuries. She was then transferred to the Leon County Jail where she was charged with first-degree murder.
Although investigations regarding Mason Rhinehart’s death have only recently started, possible motives for the murder had been identified. According to the Daily Mail, White told the arresting officers that she was “fed up” with babysitting Mason and his brother.
However, Lieutenant James McQuaig, spokesman for the Leon County Sheriff Office, emphasized that the motive for the murder has not been concluded:
“We are not clear on the motive at this point in time. That’s one of the many things that the investigators are continuing to dig into.”
Mason Rhinehart was set to attend the second grade at Killearn Lakes Elementary School. According to the Tallahassee Democrat, the school’s principal sent the family a letter offering condolences.
“This letter comes to you with great concern and emotion. Our deepest sympathy goes out to the family and friends.”
Martha White remains detained at the Leon County Jail.
[Image from LCSO, Facebook and WCTV]