TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A jury found James White of Schenectady guilty on all counts on Wednesday, a day after deliberations began. This after a dramatic trial where White represented himself against the allegation that he murdered four people in Lansingburgh in December 2017.
The jury returned guilty verdicts for charges including first- and second-degree murder, robbery, and criminal possession of stolen property. The victims were 5-year-old Shanise Myers, her brother 11-year-old Jeremiah, their mother Shanta Myers, and her partner Brandi Mells.
This is the second trial in the case for White after COVID led to a mistrial. Since the murders, White’s codefendant, Justin Mann, took a plea deal, admitted to what he calls his part, and testified against White.
Family members of those victims were at the courthouse throughout witness testimony and jury deliberations. They told NEWS10 this verdict is a long time coming for them.
“Even though the verdict don’t bring them back, we are always going to forever miss them,” said Deacon Jerry Ford, a spokesperson for the victims’ family. “Those are our loved ones. They’re dear to us, but at least we can put this part aside and be able to move forward.”
Though White had a court-appointed advisor to answer his questions as he represented himself, they couldn’t help him with strategy. That advisor said he believes White knew the case well, and can’t be sure whether having a defense attorney would’ve given him a different fate.
“That’s the constitutional right that’s given to everybody,” said Adam Staier, the legal advisor for the defendant. “You’re allowed to represent yourself if you so choose. I just think the thing that made it higher stakes in this matter with the counts that he was facing in the magnitude of this case.”
Officials held a 4 p.m. press conference regarding the verdict on the first floor of the Rensselaer County Courthouse in Troy. Sentencing is scheduled for January 5 at 10 a.m.
Troy Police Chief Dan DeWolf recalled the day of the gruesome incident, brought to justice almost four years later.
“It was one of the most horrific scenes I have ever encountered. It rattled me that day, and I still think about it,” DeWolf said, “but the cooperation and collaboration of everybody brought us to this moment, and I feel good, and I feel really really good, we were able to put these two people away.”
Take a look at the press conference below: