Change of venue denied to William "Pete" White

Cala Smoldt/Staff Reporter

William White appeared in Mercer County Court Monday, Sept. 8 with attorney Nate Nieman to hear the judge's decision on Nieman's motion to try the case in another location on a felony driving while license revoked charge and threatening a public official.

Nieman made a motion to change venue June 2 based on the fact that his client is the main suspect in the October 2011 homicide of his estranged wife Melissa White - he argued, "this case is unique in that even though the charges he's charged with are not terribly serious felonies, there has been a lot of pre-trial publicity in the area media markets.....a number of these articles lead off and end saying this guy is the suspect in Mrs. White's murder. In this county and Quad City media market, has infected the community with a pre-conceived notion of who he is - if case is tried in Mercer County, we believe that an infected jury pool would be affected."

Monday, Judge John Bell said, "After a considerable amount of time for review the court has filed a 14 page opinion." He said both parties cited cases each in concordance with their argument and he reviewed each extensively before coming to the decision to deny the change of venue.

After spending 2 years in DOC for driving on revoked license, White was set to be released on Jan. 19. Two charges were filed Jan. 9 against him in Mercer County court, and he was then transferred to Mercer County Jail. The first charge, driving while revoked, alleges that White has 13 of the same previous convictions (driving while revoked) found in several counties.

The second charge stems from a hearing in Mercer County Court in February, 2013 when he allegedly admitted to threatening his own attorney (a public official) in open court during cross examination by State's Attorney Greg McHugh saying, "I said I would break his (expletive) nose."

Both charges are class 3 felonies and if convicted carry up to 10 years in prison. Judge Bell set pretrial on both charges for the next day in court, Tuesday, Sept. 9.

Bond for White is set for $75,000 per charge, and he is to have no contact with Attorney Dan Dalton.