Trenton woman who admitted killing boyfriend to get no more than 13 years in prison
Edna White showed no remorse inside an empty criminal courtroom in Mercer County, coldly admitting stabbing her former boyfriend to death nearly 22 months ago.
“I’m guilty,” she told Judge Robert Billmeier on Monday. “So what else can I do?”
White, 57, was charged with murder for stabbing Dwelle Jerome Clark to death Feb. 14, 2014. She pleaded guilty to an open count of aggravated manslaughter, and the most time she can be sentenced to is 13 years under terms of a capped plea deal limiting her exposure time.
She would be eligible for parole in roughly 11 years if the judge hands down the maximum time allowed under terms of the plea deal, and she already has nearly two years of jail credits.
Still, Patrick O’Hara, White’s attorney, plans to argue for less time than that, although he did not say in open court how little time he would argue for.
Whatever sentence the judge imposes, White must serve five years of parole supervision once she is released.
For White, who could have spent the remainder of her days in state prison had she taken her case to trial and been convicted by a jury of murder, it seemed like a steal of a deal. None of Clark’s family members were in court for the plea.
Sitting in a wheelchair with her hair pulled back into tight, short cornrows, White seemed more interested in getting the plea over with than showing any sort of contrition for her actions.
She appeared more upset her sentence would not be imposed in time for Christmas so she can be transferred to a state prison for women rather than remaining at the county jail where she has been held on bail since she was charged with causing Clark’s death.
“I don’t want no sentence,” she told her attorney. “I just wanna be out of the county. I don’t wanna be around that stuff.”
White spoke cavalierly before the judge took the bench and was overheard telling O’Hara about a family member who had allegedly just gotten jammed up for stealing credit cards.
“I wouldn’t do that,” she said.
Her outrage over the theft charges appeared misplaced given that this is White’s second conviction for aggravated manslaughter. White stabbed a previous boyfriend to death in 1980 and was sentenced to 15 years in prison for it.
White said her spat with Clark, whom she had rekindled a relationship with while renting a room from his mother, had been brewing for three months when it came to a head over $20 dollars.
Witnesses have said White stabbed Clark after he caught her rummaging through his mother’s purse and told her to “stay out” of her belongings. Clark died at a hospital three days later.
She admitted she went into her upstairs bedroom and retrieved a seven-inch knife laying on top of her dresser drawer. She admitted stabbing Clark once in the chest, in a manner that showed “extreme indifference for life.” But her admission came with a caveat as she stated she did so after Clark allegedly struck her.
“I wasn’t thinking at the time,” she said. “I wanted him to get away from me.”
That led Billmeier to ask the woman’s attorney whether she was asserting a self-defense claim. O’Hara said his client wasn’t, and the plea deal went forward.
White is expected to be sentenced in mid-January.