BLUFFTON – The Bluffton man convicted of murder in the killing of his pregnant wife is expected to be sentenced next month when a judge will hand down a prison stay of between 51 and 85 years.
Tyler A. White, 29, will learn his fate in a Wells County courtroom Nov. 14.
A jury of six men and six women found White guilty of murder Monday evening, but the jurors responsibility didnt end there. They reconvened Tuesday morning to hear evidence that 28-year-old Amy Meyer White was pregnant at the time of her death.
A typical murder charge carries a sentence of 45 to 65 years in prison. By Indiana law, though, anyone who is convicted of murder in the killing of a pregnant woman is subject to six to 20 extra years of imprisonment if that killing also terminates the pregnancy.
Tyler White shot his estranged wife twice with a 9 mm Glock handgun in the garage of his parents home Oct. 27, 2009.
He claimed he did so in self-defense and that she pulled a handgun when the two met to hand off the couples then-1-year-old son, who was playing just feet away. Wells County prosecutors told jurors White planted evidence at the scene to make it appear that his wife had a gun, a scenario with which the jury eventually agreed.
Going into closing arguments of the trial, White asked his defense attorney not to argue for a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter.
Tuesday morning, prosecutors called two doctors to the stand – one who gave Amy White an ultrasound roughly two weeks before her death and another who performed her autopsy.
Both testified she was about 12 weeks pregnant when she died, with the pathologist saying her death caused the death of her unborn child, a boy.
James Voyles, Whites Indianapolis-based defense attorney, objected to the witnesses and argued that the state law, as written, is unconstitutional.
The law, which took effect in 2009 after a pregnant bank teller in Indianapolis lost her unborn children in a shooting during a robbery, does not require the perpetrator to know the victim is pregnant to be applied.
It prevents an individual in that circumstance to have a reasonable defense, Voyles told the jury Tuesday morning.
Unlike Monday, when jurors deliberated for nearly six hours in deciding Whites guilt of murder, it took only a few minutes for them to return a decision that his wife was indeed pregnant and that he should face an enhanced prison sentence.
Throughout the trial, White would talk with his family and supporters during breaks but would not turn to them or look their way Monday after the jury returned its guilty verdict in the murder case.
Likewise, he did not turn to his family Tuesday morning when learning of the enhancement to his sentence, and instead looked straight ahead as he was led out of the courtroom and back to Wells County Jail where he will remain until his sentencing.