‘This was not mutual combat because only one was hurt’: Crimora man convicted of first-degree murder in death of his wife

Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 5:12 PM EDT
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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) - A Crimora man was found guilty of first-degree murder and use of a firearm in commission of a felony in the 2021 shooting death of his wife.

Dwayne L. White stood accused of shooting his wife, Kelin Pacheco White, 12 times in their home on Morton Road in Crimora on July 19, 2021. The jury reached a verdict around 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, the third day of the trial.

Throughout the three days, about 40 onlookers observed court proceedings. Gasps and cries erupted from many spectators as the verdict was delivered, with many wiping tears.

By finding White guilty of first-degree murder, the jury believed he, without a reasonable doubt, willfully and deliberately killed Pacheco with malicious intent. The crime must also be premeditated.

Those factors were heavily debated during closing arguments on Thursday. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Holly Rasheed delivered closing arguments, saying White had maliciously and intentionally killed Pacheco.

“‘You been finish.’ ‘Watch this,’” Rasheed read, quoting texts from White to Pacheco.

Rasheed reminded the jury of a piece of prior testimony. After the shooting, White didn’t call 911. He said he took his and Pacheco’s phones and disposed of them in a nearby field.

“We don’t know how long it took Kelin to die,” Rasheed said, saying White had removed the possibility of her calling 911 by taking her phone.

As Rasheed wrapped up her closing arguments, White’s attorney took over, saying the shooting occurred after a mutual battle for control.

He said premeditation could not be proven within the facts of the case. White had his cousin drive him home to get a change of clothes, he said, not to murder his wife. Additionally, White said he hadn’t entered the home with the gun.

A gun holster was reportedly found on the floor. Forensic scientists testified the holster had DNA of at least four people, so they couldn’t be sure who’d gotten it out.

White’s attorney said in closing arguments the shooting was a result of an angry quarrel; an act of impulse.

“I’m not here to say Dwayne White is a good person,” he said. “I’m not here to say he’s a bad person.”

In the commonwealth’s rebuttal, deputy commonwealth’s attorney Lorna Porte said the exchange was not a reciprocal fight.

“This was not mutual combat because only one person was hurt,” Porte said.

White took the stand Wednesday and explained what happened that morning. He testified the exchange was a heated battle between the two. It was dark; he wasn’t sure what exactly transpired.

After Pacheco was shot, White got in his cousin’s car and rode away. Hours after the shooting, he turned himself in to police.

First responders found Pacheco dead in their home on Morton Road in Crimora just after 7 a.m.

With Thursday’s conviction, White could face up to life in prison. His sentencing is set for November 15.

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