KDLT Home KDLT on Facebook KDLT on Twitter Get the KDLT iPhone App Get the KDLT Android App

Rhiannon White Sentenced To 6 Years In Prison



Bookmark and Share

The mother of three children who died in a house fire last December has been sentenced. Rhiannon White will spend the next six years in prison. She will be eligible for parole in 13 months.

Prosecutors said Rhiannon White tested positive for methamphetamine, ecstasy, and marijuana when she was taken to the emergency room after the fire. Prosecutors also said she was having an affair with her meth dealer and smoked the drug with him hours before the fire.

Prosecution and defense attorneys painted a very emotional picture of White and what she has been going through since the fire that took the lives of her three children, 16-year-old Michael Hensley, 12-year-old Savannah, and 6-year-old Alivia Coon. Judge Bradley Zell said that his decision Wednesday to give Rhiannon White prison time was based solely on what laws she broke. Judge Zell said while what happened was truly tragic, it doesn’t change what White has done over the past several months.

Through tears in the courtroom, Rhiannon White said,” I'd like to start by saying thank you. Thank you for saving my life.”

In the nearly two hour sentencing hearing prosecution and defense attorneys recalled what happened Dec. 22, 2012 that lead to Rhiannon White being arrested.

Judge Bradley Zell said, “Just because bad things happen doesn’t mean a crime has been committed.”

In August White plead guilty to possession of a controlled substance. Wednesday Judge Zell found her guilty of just that.

But the count of child neglect she plead guilty to, Zell said there is no evidence of.

He did say what there is evidence of, is White having a drug addiction and it has affected everyone around her. Prosecution and defense attorney's agreed.

Minnehaha County Deputy State's Attorney Tom Hensley said, “By her own words, by her own heartfelt words to your presentence reporter, that she knows that her drug use had gotten to a point where it affected everyone around her.”

White’s Defense Attorney Amber Eggert said, “Rhiannon would be the first one to tell you. She has told Ms. Reker and me this numerous times, she knows she has made mistakes.”

Then through tears, White addressed the court herself.

“I have gone through many changes over the last 144 days I've spent in the Minnehaha County Jail,” said White. “The most important thing I had to overcome was to realize I am powerless over my addiction.”

Those who have known White for years said the six year sentence in the Women's Prison is fair and what White needs to sober up.

White’s Counselor from Killian Community College Gene McDaniel said, “We need to get her stronger. And this is the best way to do that.”

While White is in women’s prison she will undergo treatment for meth. Judge Zell said the prison has the one of the best programs in the state for addiction.


< Prev Story Back To Top Next Story >
     

Dozens ‘Party For The Planet’

The Sioux Empire is celebrating Earth Day a couple days early, by taking a ...

SD Native Rises Above Tragic Accident  story with video

An Aberdeen native has been through what most will never experience in a ...

Thousands Hunting For Easter Eggs

The Easter Bunny made an early trip to drop off eggs at McKennan Park in Sioux ...

Sioux Falls Storm Helps Kids In Need  story with video  Apr. 19

Sioux Falls Storm Helps Kids In Need  story with video  Apr. 19

Sioux City Riverboat Casino Prepares To Close  Apr. 19

After Wait, Ranchers Find Relief From USDA  Apr. 19

Man Approached Small Children In Mitchell  Apr. 19

Branstad Pushing Priorities On Lawmakers  Apr. 19

SD Lottery Offers Losing Tickets 2nd Chance  Apr. 19

CAMP Teams To Showcase Projects Saturday  Apr. 19

Separate Trials Ordered For Robbery Suspects  Apr. 19

IA Children's Museum Project Awarded Grant  Apr. 19

IA Gets Nearly $72M In Yearly Tobacco Payment  Apr. 19

Railroad Group Says $1 Million Pledged Locally  Apr. 19

Belle Fourche Clinic Offers Free Drug Tests  Apr. 19

Vikings To Add Another $1.2M To Stadium  Apr. 19

Eric Church Nearly Sold Out  story with video  Apr. 18

Police Recover Weapon In Homicide Case  story with video  Apr. 18

Vigil Held In Opposition To Death Penalty  story with video  Apr. 18

KDLT News Archive
     

SD Native Rises Above Tragic Accident  story with video

An Aberdeen native has been through what most will ...

Man Approached Small Children In Mitchell

Police are looking for a man who has approached ...

Thousands Hunting For Easter Eggs

The Easter Bunny made an early trip to drop off eggs at McKennan ...

Sioux City Riverboat Casino Prepares To Close  Apr. 19

SD Lottery Offers Losing Tickets 2nd Chance  Apr. 19

Sioux Falls Storm Helps Kids In Need  story with video  Apr. 19

After Wait, Ranchers Find Relief From USDA  Apr. 19

Sioux Falls Storm Helps Kids In Need  story with video  Apr. 19

KDLT News Archive
     

Storm Stomp Wyoming  story with video

SIOUX FALLS, S. D. --  The Sioux Falls Storm defeated the Wyoming Cavalry 64-29 Saturday night, ...

FORCED OUT: Fort Wayne Sweeps Sioux Falls  story with video

FORT WAYNE, IN --  The best Sioux Falls Skyforce season in ...

Red Raiders Roll Past Briar Cliff  story with video

ORANGE CITY, IA  --  The 20th-ranked Northwestern Red Raiders had little ...

Skyforce Need Complete Effort To Win In Fort Wayne  story with video  Apr. 19

Pitching Propels Jacks To Sweep At Fort Wayne  story with video  Apr. 19

Coyotes Drop Series Finale With IUPUI  story with video  Apr. 19

Coo Sweep Peacocks On Senior Day  story with video  Apr. 19

NSIC-Leading Mankato Slips Past Augie  story with video  Apr. 19

KDLT Sports Stories
     
Back To Top