Defense rests in Tyler White murder trial

Authored by Jim Langham on Oct 3, 2011

BLUFFTON – At noon on Friday, Special Judge Brian Hutchison, presiding over the trial of Tyler White, charged in the October 2009 murder of Amy Meyer White, ordered court into recess until today at 8:30 a.m.
After closing statements, the trial will go to the 12-person jury, composed of six men and six women, for consideration of the case. Hutchison told jurors on Friday that he believed that once things got going today, it would probably take "a couple of more days" to bring the matter to a conclusion.
In addition to Dr. John Pless, defense attorney James Voyles, of Indianapolis, called Trent White, brother of the accused, JaNae Reinhard (through deposition), Rachel Starkey, and Matt Reinhard for testimony on Friday.
Under questioning by Voyles, Trent White testified that Tyler White and Meyer White had a very stormy relationship, often filled with fighting and bitter arguments.
"They lived in Fort Wayne," said Trent White. "I saw them every couple of weeks. They had a child named, Max. After he was born, they still fought and berated each other. The language was vulgar on both sides. I learned from my brother that they were going to get a divorce."
Trent said that Tyler moved in with him and his wife, Stephanie, and lived there a year. He noted that exchanges of Max were often "very unpleasant."
During that time, Trent said that he, Tyler, and other family members and friends would shoot at targets at their parents' home.
"Amy was with us during one of those times in the summer of 2007," said Trent. "She agreed to shoot at the target. She shot a .44 magnum. He (Tyler) carried a gun all of the time."
Trent said that was the only time he saw Amy operate a gun.
White said that as the relationship of Tyler and Amy worsened, he noticed that her emotions changed.
Through deposition, JaNae Reinhard testified her recollection of a night in the winter of 2008 when Tyler had asked if he and Amy could stay at the home of she and her husband, Matt.
"They were going through a time of separation and Tyler asked if they could come here to try to make amends," recorded Reinhard.
Reinhard noted that she and her husband were going to Fort Wayne for the evening and that they would leave their home empty and private for Tyler and Amy to spend some time together. She noted that their son, Max, was also with them for the event.
Reinhard said that it was anticipated that the couple would be staying in a guest room upstairs, and she was concerned with the availability of guns that her husband had in a storage room upstairs.
"I took a hand gun, put it in a case, and slid it under the couch in an upstairs living room," said Reinhard, rather hesitatingly.
"I can't say for sure that I did that but I believe that I did that," said Reinhard.
Reinhard suggested that it could have been possible that if Max played on the floor in front of the couch, Amy or Tyler could have spotted the gun and case if they were on the floor playing with Max.
Reinhard testified that about two months after the visit, Matt noted that the gun was missing. He told her that he hadn't made a police report because he wasn't sure whether the gun had been in the house or in his truck.
"He said that he didn't know where he had placed the gun and had thought that it might have been taken by one of his employees," suggested Reinhard.
Rachel Starkey testified that she had dated Tyler White for several months prior to the shooting. She said that he carried a magazine of bullets in his car.
"I knew that he was going through a divorce so I ended our relationship," said Starkey. "I wanted more out of the relationship and he simply wanted to be friends."
Starkey told defense lawyer Voyles that as far as she was concerned, White had treated her well. She noted that she had carried on a conversation with him two days before the shooting.
In his second visit to the witness stand, Voyles recalled Matt Reinhard and questioned him concerning a summer of 2008 visit in which he had accompanied Tyler White to the home of Lee Flueckiger, where Meyer White was then living.
"We knocked on the door and he (Flueckiger) answered the door," said Reinhard. "We were there for five minutes and Tyler talked to him about their relationship."
Reinhard said that when they prepared to leave, Flueckiger extended his hand for a handshake but neither he nor White accepted the gesture.

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