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W.Va. man guilty in double slaying

September 19, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - Deborah White smiled, balled her left hand into a fist and subtly punched downward with approval Tuesday when a jury of six men and six women found "no mercy" for the man who hours earlier was found guilty of killing her husband and son on Sept. 14, 2005.

After five days of trial, Wade Warren Painter, 27, of 385 Pond Lane in Berkeley County, was found guilty on two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of burglary, and counts of grand larceny, possession of stolen vehicle and petit larceny. The jury recommended he serve two life sentences without parole.

"It doesn't bring my son back," Deborah White said outside the Berkeley County Judicial Center after the trial.

White's son, Raymond E. White IV, 20, and her husband, Raymond E. White Jr., 64, were shot twice in the head in an early-morning encounter in the family's home at 1734 Paynes Ford Road.

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"I'll take what the state will give," said Deborah White's stepson, Christopher White, who said he wanted Painter to receive the death penalty. West Virginia's penal code doesn't provide that option, but the jury was able to eliminate any opportunity for Painter to be considered for parole.

Presiding 23rd Judicial Circuit judge Christopher C. Wilkes scheduled a sentencing, post-trial motions hearing for 9 a.m. on Oct. 26.

Wilkes must decide whether Painter should serve the life sentences at the same time or consecutively. He must also determine the prison terms for the other five convictions after a pre-sentencing investigation is completed.

"We're very happy with the verdict," Prosecuting Attorney Pamela J. Games-Neely said.

"There was a lot of good police work that went into this," Games-Neely said.

She lauded the efforts of the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department and the Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, which was assisted by the West Virginia State Police Forensics Laboratory.

Defense attorneys B. Craig Manford and Andrew S. Arnold said they respected the jury's decision.

"They diligently did their job, and we thank them for that," Manford said.

Manford said he expects to appeal the case to the state Supreme Court of Appeals. The defense would revisit arguments concerning the admissibility of statements Painter gave to police when he was arrested, as well as investigators' efforts to obtain a consent to search the home of Painter and his girlfriend, he said.

The second of two recorded statements by Painter that was replayed for the jury was given more than an hour after the first and after he requested an attorney. But at the beginning of the second statement, Painter agreed to give another statement after being assured he could still get an attorney later.

After the guilty verdicts were announced at 11:44 a.m., White's wife testified in the mercy hearing for Painter that she had separated, albeit not legally, from her husband about 10 months before the men were killed.

"We still loved each other," said White, who later looked directly at Painter at the defense table and told him he didn't deserve any mercy because he didn't show any for her son.

Christopher White said his father, Raymond White Jr., missed out on a dream of getting a sailboat and indulging in a little of the Caribbean lifestyle in retirement.

"I can't imagine what he went through," White said of the traumatic head injuries his father suffered the night he died. "How do you give mercy for that?"

Alec Hall testified Tuesday that he will miss his best friend, Raymond White IV.

"When he died, I promised him and myself that if he did see me from heaven, he would be happy ...," Hall said. "I miss him with all my heart."

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