Moments before he was sentenced to life plus 12 years in prison for murder, Terry White told the court that he is innocent and his case had not been “vigorously fought.”
A jury in June found the 51-year-old guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated burglary and tampering with evidence in the death of his wife’s ex-husband, Don Fluitt. Fluitt, who has a daughter with Christine White, was found stabbed to death in the garage of his Northwest Albuquerque home in December 2016.
“My attorneys wanted me to apologize to the Fluitt family today. … I have always said I was innocent, and I will continue to say so,” White said. “So no, I will not be apologizing to the Fluitt family for a murder I did not commit.”
Prosecutors said the family had been involved in a custody dispute and Terry White was charged in the case after his DNA was found under Fluitt’s fingernails. Christine White also faced charges in Fluitt’s death, though her case was later dismissed “pending further investigation.”
Fluitt was remembered for the lives he touched, both as a Bernalillo County firefighter and more recently as a service coordinator.
While Fluitt’s brother, Dennis, was relieved by the sentence, he said he thought his family had only gotten “half justice,” adding that he hopes the state will pursue Christine White’s case.
“Until they charge her and try her and convict her, we’re not going to have justice,” Dennis Fluitt said.
Asked about the status of Christine White’s case, a spokesman for the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office said, “The investigation is ongoing. There is no statute of limitations for first-degree murder.”
Terry White’s attorneys argued in court documents that the judge should allow him to serve the 12 years for aggravated burglary and evidence tampering concurrent with the life sentence for murder, which would make White eligible for parole in 2047, at age 80. But state District Judge Jacqueline Flores ordered those sentences to run consecutively. In New Mexico, a life sentence means a defendant is eligible for parole after 30 years.
In his statement to the court, White asserted his innocence, shared his life story and said he had not been adequately represented by his attorney.
White told the courtroom about his abusive childhood, failed marriages, a daughter he hasn’t seen in years, and a son kept from seeing him after he married White, who he said is “the most amazing woman I’ve ever known.”
No one spoke in his behalf.
“I’ve never killed anyone,” White said. “I’ve had many wrongs done to me. I still would not take a life.”