John Douglas White, 55, was declared competent in Isabella County Trial Court Wednesday after being charged with the murder of 24-year-old Rebekah Jane Gay in October.
A former pastor and ex-convict, White underwent testing Dec. 13 to declare his competence, verifying his understanding of the charges against him, as recommended by Isabella County Prosecutor Risa Scully.
“We’re still waiting on the criminal responsibility evaluation,” Isabella County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Bob Holmes said.
Holmes said the evaluation will determine if White can be deemed criminally insane. There is not a definite timeline of when the evaluation results will be available, but the paperwork should be received in a few weeks, he said.
At the brief meeting, Holmes and defense attorney Gordon M. Bloem shared no objections or witnesses with Judge William J. Ervin.
A preliminary examination is scheduled for 8:15 a.m. Jan. 10 before Judge William Rush.
White will remain in Isabella County Jail until he pleads guilty, Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski told Central Michigan Life in December.
“I guarantee he’ll go to prison,” Mioduszewski said. “… Typically, this stuff doesn’t move too quickly (in) the court system before he’s moved to prison.”
White is alleged to have murdered Gay Oct. 31 in her Broomfield Valley mobile home, 3303 S. Coldwater Road, where the two were neighbors, police said. White reportedly bludgeoned Gay’s head with a rubber mallet and strangled her with a plastic zip-tie.
After spending the following morning interviewing Gay’s family and friends, police said they approached White and found blood in his home and on a piece of Gay’s jewelry in his pickup truck.
White confessed to the murder, blaming it on a two-week sexual fantasy he had to kill Gay and have sex with her dead body. He told the police the murder was fueled by pornographic videos and said he did not remember carrying out his fantasy because he drank four or five beers before going to Gay’s home.
Gay’s body was found Nov. 1 in a stand of pine trees on Coldwater Road, and the mallet and bloody towels used were discovered off Pickard Road near Woodruff Road. Gay’s cell phone was found in a dumpster in her and White’s mobile home park.
White was arraigned the same day in Isabella County Trial Court on charges of open murder and first-degree, pre-meditated murder and ordered jail time without bond.
White was engaged to Gay’s mother and regularly watched Gay’s three-year-old son while she was at work.
After murdering Gay, Mioduszewski said White returned to her home to help get her son ready for Halloween and dropped him off with his father.
White has convictions for manslaughter in Kalamazoo County and attacking a young woman in Calhoun County, but was released from jail in 2008, the Associated Press reported.
Senior Reporter Shelby Miller contributed to this article.