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South Salt Lake man pleads guilty to mother's 2010 murder

Published May 14, 2012 4:40 pm

Court • Defense attorney says man "wanted to accept responsibility."
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A 23-year-old South Salt Lake man has pleaded guilty to killing his mother by stabbing her and slashing her throat after she asked him to make a cup of coffee for her.

John Paul White pleaded guilty Monday in 3rd District Court to first-degree murder in the November 2010 slaying of 62-year-old Mary White. He faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced July 30 before Judge Robin Reese.

"He said that Mary had asked for a cup of coffee," South Salt Lake Detective Darren Carr testified at a preliminary hearing last year, "and he said, just basically, 'That was the last damn time I was going to make her coffee.' "

White's defense attorney, Charles Corry, said that by pleading to the charge, "[White] just wanted to accept responsibility for it."

Police said John White tried to strangle his mother with an iPod cord. When the cord broke, he stabbed the woman at least six times before cutting her throat. Then he cleaned up the blood and tried to take his own life with a mix of carpet cleaner and his mother's pills, police said.

Neighbors at the apartment building near 3400 South and 300 East became worried about Mary White after learning her son was in the hospital. A neighbor climbed into the woman's second-floor apartment, which she shared with her son, and found her dead in the hallway.

The shower had been left running inside the apartment, which used a boiler system that allowed for a continued supply of hot water, and the walls and ceilings dripped with moisture and the front door had become stuck.

As he recovered in a hospital, White told police he had taken "physicology" classes and knew slashing the jugular would be "fatal to any animal in nature," according to testimony.

afalk@sltrib.com