Woman who crashed through building takes plea deal
A Utah woman who crashed her car through a Salt Lake County office building and twice hit her husband has pleaded guilty to aggravated assault.
Brenda Christine White, 36, had faced a charge of attempted murder when she was put on trial earlier this month. But a mistrial was declared after someone reported hearing jurors discuss the case in an elevator in the 3rd District courthouse.
The mistrial played a part in both sides reaching an agreement, said Salt Lake County prosecutor Alicia Cook.
"Second trials are always tough and it's wearing on victims to get geared up for hearing after hearing after hearing," she said. "It's been 6 1/2 years. It has taken far too long. I know the wheels of justice turn slowly, but in this particular case it's been exhausting."
In addition to pleading guilty to the lesser assault charge, White pleaded guilty Monday to a count of second-degree felony criminal mischief. She will be sentenced Jan. 8."This is what we've been asking for all along," said defense attorney Jason Schatz. "Brenda has never denied responsibility for being in the car. What it's really been about is what level of culpability should be assigned to her taking into account all of the circumstances."
"I think this is finally going to bring it to a close for everyone so they can begin to move on with their lives," he added.
White's attack on her ex-husband in April 2006 was captured on surveillance video. She crashed her sports-utility vehicle through his workplace, the Woodland Towers office building, near 4100 South and 700 East, and twice hit Jon White, breaking his leg and ankle in the crash. The couple have since divorced.
The case was delayed for years as White's defense appealed whether she should be allowed to present a defense claiming extreme emotional distress.
On the witness stand at trial, White claimed she was under the influence of anti-anxiety medication at the time and had blacked out before crashing through the building.
"It was not me," she added. "Jon was my husband. He was my best friend, my lover. I would not want to hurt him."