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Man convicted in father's homicide may see sentence reduced

August 11, 2017 Digital Media Exclusive

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Following a hearing on Friday lifting the stay on his resentence, a former Butler man, who has spent the last 19 years in prison on a homicide conviction he received as a teenager, may see his prison sentence shortened.

Nicholas A. White, now 36, was 17 when he was charged in the July 31, 1998, shooting death of his father, Robert Grant White, 43, at their home along Route 356. He was charged as an adult, and in 1999 was found guilty of first-degree homicide and misdemeanor abuse of a corpse. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Two decisions by the United States Supreme Court — in 2012 that such life sentences for teenage offenders was unconstitutional and a 2016 decision that the ban must be applied retroactively — triggered new sentencing hearings and parole for inmates across the country, including White.

White is one of 517 Pennsylvania offenders sentenced to life without parole for crimes committed as juveniles whose cases are being revisited because of the rulings, according to The Associated Press.

Gregory Simatic, prosecutor for the Attorney General's Office said the state is not seeking a resentence of life without parole in this case.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court determined that such cases require proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is an unusual example of someone who can never be rehabilitated.

Police said White shot his father with a hunting rifle before bludgeoning him with the weapon. After the incident, he then solicited the help of two friends to dispose of the body. Police said he committed the crime because his father had threatened to sell his Chevrolet Camaro as punishment for staying out too late.

A full report will appear in the Butler Eagle.

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