Frank Cikutovich Article:
White Acquitted in Attempted Murder Case
Spokesman Review Jan 27, 2000
by Kevin Blocker
A jury has found a Spokane woman innocent of attempted first- and
second-degree murder, after she was accused of trying to ambush a man in the
basement of a house they once shared.
Michelle T. White, 28, was immediately released from Spokane County Jail
after the verdict late Tuesday.
The jury said it did not believe White was trying to murder Matthew Burton;
rather, jurors thought White may have been contemplating suicide when she hid in
a laundry room with a .38- caliber pistol.
The trial started Monday and concluded the following day.
White's attorney, Frank Cikutovich, said he thought the case never should
have gone to trial.
"Even the doctors the prosecution called agreed that she lacked the mental
capacity to premeditate," Cikutovich said.
Prosecuting attorney Chris Bugbee could not be reached for comment.
In court records, Drs. Vern Cressey, Timm Frederickson and George Wang from
Eastern State Hospital all agreed that White suffered from "acute stress
disorder," which affected her ability to orchestrate the murder.
Spokane County sheriff's detectives suspected White planned to shoot Burton
when he retrieved his clothes from the Valley home they used to share.
Burton, 28, and his brother found White in the laundry room with a
.38-caliber pistol April 19, according to court documents.
The brother wrestled the gun away from White before it could be fired.
White and Burton met after they both posted advertisements on a Web page for
singles. They began dating and moved in together in February last year.
Shortly thereafter, Burton told White he wanted to end the relationship, said
Detectives said White then threatened to kill herself, her two daughters and
The suicide threats resulted in White being committed to Eastern State
Hospital in April, according to court records.
Cikutovich said White had no prior criminal history and has since lost
custody of her children.
"It's a tragedy," he said. "It was also a waste of the judicial economy."
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