The public defender for a West Virginia man charged in connection with a kidnapping and a wild chase through Washington and Allegheny counties last February said his client has pleaded guilty in one county but faces a legal conundrum with charges that remain here and in the Mountain State.
Timothy Adam White, 23, is charged with kidnapping a toddler Feb. 8 from Preston County, W.Va., east of Morgantown, and driving her in a stolen car to Washington County, where it ran out of gas. A Richeyville motorist, unaware of the kidnapping, picked up White and the child around the village of Lone Pine and took them to his hometown, where White abandoned the child.
White also is charged with stealing a cable company van from Richeyville and leading police on a chase along the Mon-Fayette Expressway to Baldwin Borough, where he was taken into custody.
In Allegheny County in August, Judge David R. Cashman accepted White’s guilty plea to five counts of recklessly endangering other persons and one count of resisting arrest.
He sentenced White to 6 to 12 months’ confinement with credit for time served, followed by three years’ probation with permission to transfer supervision to West Virginia.
Paroled from Allegheny County, White was transferred to Washington County jail, where, according to records, he arrived Aug. 26. He is being held in lieu of $250,000 bond.
White, wearing prison orange togs and shackles, appeared in Washington County Court Friday before Visiting Judge Edward Borkowksi.
Although the judge heard several guilty pleas that day, White’s was not among them. Deputy Public Defender Brian Gorman, outside the courtroom, explained the set of issues that surround White’s case here and in West Virginia.
“Both kidnapping, related elements and theft apply to both counties,” Gorman said. “If he pleads here, does that constitute an admission of guilt relative to the charge in Preston County? And does it constitute double jeopardy if they go forward with the case in Preston County? If there is incarceration, where is it to be served? We’d like to get it resolved in a month or two.”
Double jeopardy is the constitutional prohibition against being convicted twice for the same crime.
Preston County, which is east of Morgantown, won’t be extraditing White until the case in Washington County has been closed.
Assistant District Attorney Leslie Ridge handled the case in court Friday, but she referred any comment to her colleague, Jerome Moschetta, who was not available to discuss it Monday.
White, who came to West Virginia from Alabama and has no job, had been living with the parents of the child, Starr Parks, above a convenience store for about two weeks before the child was taken. On the day of the alleged kidnapping, White and the girl’s mother, Stephanie Parks, had borrowed a car to drive to a store. She trusted him to carry the girl to the car while she returned to their apartment to retrieve a diaper bag, West Virginia state police said at the time.
Within a matter of moments, she went back outside and the car was gone, police said. A motive behind the series of events is unknown, as is the reason that the alleged perpetrator headed to Pennsylvania.