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Ex-wife charged in death of firefighter

Christine White, who is listed as Christine Estill in jail records. (Source: Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The ex-wife of a former Bernalillo County firefighter who was killed in his garage late last year has been charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the case – more than two months after her current husband was charged with the murder.

Police investigators said in a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court that days after 54-year-old Don Fluitt was found dead in his garage on Coors and Sequoia NW on Dec. 29, he was scheduled to appear before a judge with his ex-wife, Christine White, to discuss child custody changes.

Christine White, 46, had told her current husband, Terry White, that she was worried about losing custody of her 11-year-old daughter, according to the complaint. Christine White is also identified as Christine Estill in jail records.

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Terry White was arrested by Navajo police in March and charged with murder in Fluitt’s death.

In an interview with the Journal after Terry White’s arrest, Fluitt’s brother said he was shocked at who was identified as the suspect, and said Christine White also couldn’t believe her husband was involved.

Investigators said in the court document that a neighbor’s surveillance video from the night Fluitt died showed him leave his house shortly before 8 p.m., and when he returned, a man in a hoodie sneaked into the garage.

The man appeared to be expecting Fluitt to return home, since he wasn’t dressed in clothing warm enough for the cold weather, according to the complaint. It said Fluitt had left the home to drop off his daughter with Christine White, who had changed the time of their usual custody exchange.

Albuquerque police’s crime lab determined that Terry White’s DNA was found underneath Fluitt’s fingernails, according to the complaint.

Terry White was arrested by Navajo police in Arizona in March while trying to kill himself by carbon monoxide poisoning. Afterward, he told a fellow inmate at the Metropolitan Detention Center that he and his wife were likely to lose custody of their child and his wife had encouraged him to kill Fluitt “to protect his family,” according to the complaint.

Terry White told the inmate that, while fighting in Fluitt’s garage, he twisted his trachea, then slit his throat with a steak knife – details that weren’t included in the charging documents against Terry White but matched a report from the Office of the Medical Investigator, the complaint says. It also says Terry White told the inmate he had taken out a $250,000 life insurance policy and made plans with his wife to kill himself.

The complaint states that when the inmate was released from jail and met with Christine White, she gave the man $200 and her wedding ring if he agreed to smuggle pills into the detention center so Terry White could go through with the plan. The inmate instead gave the ring to one of his friends, who pawned it, and he told police about the plans.

A warrant was issued for Christine White’s arrest on June 14. An Albuquerque police homicide detective arrested her Friday evening.

She is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center without bond.

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