By Pat Maurer
John Douglas White, the former pastor convicted for the late October murder of Rebekah Jane Gay of Mt. Pleasant, has committed suicide in prison, according to information from the Isabella County Prosecutor’s office. Reportedly he hanged himself in his cell early Wednesday morning.
Gay, 24, who lived at the Broomfield Valley Mobile Home Park and was a neighbor of White, was hit with a mallet and strangled with a zip tie. Her then three-year old son was at home at the time. White then hid the woman’s body in a wooded area. Later White allegedly returned to the home and took care of the youngster, dressing him in his Halloween costume for his father.
White, 56, was interviewed by police and eventually confessed to Gay’s murder and later he led officers to her body, which was found in a deep ditch near the corner of Pickard and Coldwater Roads, about a mile of her home.
Reportedly he had fantasized about killing her.
White had several prior convictions including an assault with intent to murder in 1981 and an involuntary manslaughter in 1995.
He was serving the first year of a 56 to 85 year sentence as a level-four prisoner at Ionia.