VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A Virginia Beach man was convicted of murdering his wife after a one-day trial Tuesday.
Virginia Beach police say in May 2015, James Wallace White shot and killed his wife Bridgette White in their Campus East home in front of her sons.
Inside the courtroom Tuesday, emotions ran high, at one point spilling over into an outburst from one of the victim’s sons, who said he watched the suspect shoot his mother.
This outburst happened after Bridgette White’s son testified. He yelled at James White and several of Mr. White’s supporters.
The Commonwealth called both sons as witnesses. Both said their stepfather, James White, suspected that their mother cheated on him.
On May 8, Bridgette White and her sons made plans to leave the house for the weekend. Mr. White came home and argued with his wife while waving a handgun.
Both sons gave emotional testimony Tuesday; they had to stop several times as they described the seconds leading up to when they say Mr. White stopped arguing and shot their mother in the head in front of them at point-blank range. One of the sons was also shot and wounded. Officers canvassing the neighborhood located Mr. White nearby. An officer and White exchanged gunfire and White was hit by police gunfire.
When the second son finished his testimony, he told the suspect, “I’m here to see you go to prison. You killed my mom!” One of the supporters of the suspect began to taunt the son and he yelled at her. Judge O’Brien called in more deputies and had them both escorted out before resuming the trial.
James White’s defense team has argued so far that this was not murder, because White was drunk at the time. They say this crime was committed in the heat of passion and was not premeditated murder.
Eventually, James White took the stand. He said he and his wife wife had a volatile relationship and that she had beat him before and was cheating on him. He told the judge he drank too much that night, then accidentally shot her during the argument.
The judge told White he found his testimony to be disingenuous and ruled he was guilty of murdering his wife.
A guilty conviction for first-degree murder carries a range of 20 years to life in prison. He’s set to be sentenced on July 26.