Details Emerge In Warren County Shooting Death
SUGAR GROVE, Pa. — The suspect in the June 21 killing of a Chandlers Valley, Pa., woman was held for court as a result of a preliminary hearing Wednesday.
Matthew B. White, 34, of Chandlers Valley, was held for court on a charge of criminal homicide. White is accused of shooting his wife, Jessica Lynn White, outside their home while their three children were inside.
Two witnesses, both Pennsylvania State Police troopers, were called by the prosecution to provide testimony Wednesday. The defense did not call any witnesses.
Trooper Shea Sedler, the first officer at the scene, testified that both front doors of the vehicle were open when he arrived at 5390 Brown Hill Road residence at about 5:30 p.m.
He said Jessica White was in the driver seat and Matthew White was in the passenger seat. He saw blood on both of them.
“I kept asking him what happened,” Sedler testified. “Finally, he stated to me, ‘We were shot.'”
He said Jessica White was “beeping the horn — pushing it in, letting it off” with her hands, but only responded to one question. “I believe she said no to one of my questions,” Sedler said. “I asked if they took any drugs. She said no.”
“Did she say, ‘Mr. White shot me,’?” Assistant Public Defender Nick Milardo, representing Matthew White, asked.
“No,” Sedler said.
Jessica White was taken to Warren General Hospital where she was declared dead at 6:22 p.m.
Matthew White was flown by emergency helicopter to UPMC-Hamot in Erie, Pa.
District Attorney Rob Greene asked State Police Lead Investigator Trooper Jeffrey Osborne what he thought happened.
“I believe the victim was shot four times; the defendant shot himself out back and stumbled to the car via the blood trail,” Osborne said.
Forensic Pathologist Dr. Eric Vey said two of the four gunshot wounds sustained by Jessica White were “potentially fatal,” Osborne said.
A .40-caliber handgun was found near a pool of blood at the back of the house, Osborne said. Using the serial number, police established that the gun was purchased by and currently registered to Matthew White. Results of DNA testing on the gun have not been returned.
The results of forensic testing of five .40-caliber shell casings found outside the car and one found at the back of the house near the pool of blood have not been returned, he said.
“The .40-caliber had four rounds in it, one in the chamber, three in the magazine,” Osborne said. The magazine holds 10 rounds. He said the driver seat showed four shots and the pillar between the front and back driver side doors had another.
He testified there were no gunshots in the passenger side and that all the windows were rolled up.
The locations of shell casings found outside the car are consistent with someone firing the gun found at the scene into the car from outside the front of the driver door, he said.
Greene asked Osborne if there was blood on Jessica White’s shoes.
“No,” Osborne said. “That means a lot to me. Jessica never made it out of the vehicle when she arrived home.”
The entrance and exit wounds on Jessica White are also consistent with the shots being fired from Jessica White’s left. Osborne said the entrance wounds were generally on the left side of her torso and the exit wounds on the right.
“Is it possible Mr. White was shot by a third party?” Milardo asked.
“Not through my investigation,” Osborne said. “I do not believe that.”
Greene asked if Osborne had any medical basis for believing that Matthew White shot himself.
“I have medical documents… 524 pages, I believe,” Osborne said. “Multiple times, two different attending physicians indicated suspicion on self-inflicted gunshot.”
Asked about the White’s relationship, Osborne said, “There had been text messages where Jessica confided there was a divorce pending. Matthew had told Jessica that he wanted a divorce.”
Osborne said the couple also had financial problems. “They were pretty strapped for money,” he said.
Jessica White was the primary bread-winner, he testified. She also carried a $15,000 life insurance policy.
Milardo asked who made the 911 call.
According to Osborne, the 7-year-old said his father was the only person who made a phone call. That information is backed up by a report from UPMC-Hamot, Osborne said.
The trooper had already testified that no blood was found on the porch nor inside the house.
Milardo asked if that was consistent with Matthew White making the 911 call.
Osborne said he did not know if the call — placed at 5:07 p.m. — was made before or after Matthew White was shot.
District Justice Glenn Carlson ordered White bound over to the court of common pleas.