Judge Rules Probable Cause in Threatening a Public Official Charge Against William 'Pete' White, Jr.

Cala Smoldt/staff reporter

In Mercer County Court Tuesday, Feb. 11, William White appeared before the honorable Judge Thomas Burglund facing a 2nd charge, Threatening a Public Official, filed by the State's Attorney's Office early January.

Charges indicate that Mr. White threatened physical harm to public defender, Daniel Dalton, on three separate occasions.

State's Attorney Gregory McHugh called Viola Police Chief Mulder as witness. It was discussed that Mr. White's Public Defender for a juvenile case in 2012 was, indeed, Daniel Dalton, evidence was provided. Chief Mulder revealed that phone records are in possession of law enforcement. Recordings are from 2012 of Mr. White on the phone from the Department of Corrections describing threats about Mr. Dalton to his family members. State's Attorney McHugh asked Chief Mulder what the threats were, he responded that Mr. White told his aunt he said he was going to, "Punch Mr. Dalton in the (expletive) nose." During another call to a different aunt he repeated a threat that, "When he gets out he was going to get drunk and bite Dalton's nose off." Chief Mulder described the incident in court Feb. 21, 2013, "When he was questioned he said, 'I said I would break his (expletive) nose.'"

Mr. White's defense Attorney Nathan Nieman argued saying there was not probable cause as these threats were made indirectly and the phone calls in question are being taken out of context. He said that these comments were made over the phone describing the reason he was in segregation at the DOC. He asked witness Chief Mulder, "Did Mr. White ask any of his family members to communicate these threats to Mr. Dalton?" and he said no.

Nieman requested a copy of the phone calls in question.

Attorney Nieman later clarified that Mr. White was, "not remaking threats over and over, just repeating to his aunts and to the court during the hearing what he had originally said to the counselor back in September 2012."

McHugh cited the statute ILCS 5/12-9 (from Ch. 38, par. 12-9), where a person commits threatening a public official or human service provider when: (1) that person knowingly delivers or conveys, directly or indirectly, to a public official or human service provider by any means a communication: (i) containing a threat that would place the public official... in reasonable apprehension of immediate or future bodily harm. Judge Burglund agreed saying there was, "no question it was indirect and can be conveyed indirectly..." and ruled accordingly finding probable cause.

A jury pre-trial is set for March 4 for the two charges against Mr. White, Threatening a Public Official and Driving While License Revoked.

William 'Pete' White plead guilty to Driving While Revoked, Resisting a Peace Officer, and Violation of an Order of Protection on Jan. 24, 2012 and was sentenced to the Department of Corrections where he spent the last 2 years. He was released on parole mid-January only to face two new charges filed by the Mercer County State's Attorney's Office on Jan. 9. He continues to be held in the Mercer County jail awaiting trial. He is considered a "person of interest" in the ongoing investigation into the 2011 homicide of his estranged wife Melissa White of Viola.