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Man guilty in 'cold-blooded execution' of sleeping wife

By Cory Shaffer • Sep 11, 2017 at 1:32 PM

CLEVELAND -- A judge on Monday found a Lakewood man guilty of carrying out the premeditated murder of his sleeping wife.

Jason White, 39, now faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole after Judge Sherrie Miday convicted him of aggravated murder, murder and felonious assault in the Feb. 7 slaying of his wife, Stacy White.

White never denied that he killed his wife. Instead, his lawyer, Jaye Schlachett, argued at trial that the killing was "spontaneous," and the culmination of years of mistrust, lies and infidelity. He did not act with prior calculation that made him guilty of the most serious charge of aggravated murder, Schlachett said.

But Miday, who presided over the trial and rendered the verdict because White waived his right to a jury trial, said Monday that Stacy White's death was not the spontaneous result of a cascading series of events.

"It was precisely a cold-blooded execution," she said.

Miday used White's own words, taken from excerpts of his interviews with Lakewood police detectives after his arrest, to convict him.

White said he got the idea to kill his wife the night before, after a tumultuous weekend in which the couple started talking about getting a divorce. White told police he decided that a divorce wasn't enough.

"I don't want my daughter around her. Even if I were to divorce her, I would still have to deal with her," he said. "So yeah, I decided I just couldn't take it anymore."

White said the pair woke up the next morning and they smoked a cigarette together. She went back to sleep. White got out of bed, which was in the basement of the apartment they rented, went upstairs and barricaded the door to their 2-year-old daughter's bedroom with a chair so she wouldn't come out.

White went to his gun safe and grabbed the pistol he bought for his wife for her birthday. He went into their bedroom, covered his sleeping wife's head with a folded blanket to muffle the sound of the gunshot and fired a bullet into her temple.

White then climbed into bed and smoked a cigarette beside his wife's body. He planned to take his own life but said he lost his motivation the gun jammed.

He sent a text to his father, who called police.

The judge said that while White didn't kill his wife after days of planning, Miday found that he was calculated that morning when he took steps to protect his daughter from the blast from barricading her door to muzzling the sound. She also noted his bathroom break.

"He had time to change his mind," Miday said.

White is scheduled to be sentenced next month.

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