OGDEN — A man charged with murder for the death of his live-in girlfriend less than a month ago was found dead in his jail cell Wednesday night.
The body of Jeffrey Dean White, 43, was found by Weber County Jail staff members about 9:10 p.m. Wednesday. He apparently died as a result of hanging himself with a bed sheet, according to the Weber County Sheriff's Office.
White was charged in 2nd District Court on Oct. 26 with murder, a first-degree felony, and two counts of domestic violence in the presence of a child, a third-degree felony, in connection with the death of Marnie Stark, 38.
An autopsy showed Stark was killed by a lacerated liver caused by blunt force trauma. The medical examiner who performed the autopsy said the injuries were "consistent with punches or kicks," the charges state. White's two children, both under the age of 10, were in the house during the Oct. 20 attack.
White was housed in the jail's maximum security unit and did not have a cellmate, said Weber County Sheriff's Lt. Mark Lowther. Maximum security inmates are checked every 45 to 60 minutes, he said. The last time corrections officers checked White was 8:25 p.m., he said.
There had been no indication that White was suicidal and he was not on a suicide watch, Lowther said.
I don't want to come across like I celebrate anybody that has died, but I can't, in my heart, sound that sad that he's gone. She did not deserve what happened to her.
–Jessie Franich, victim's mother
"Nothing indicates any type of foul play, Lowther said. "He was housed by himself. There are no indications of anything other than he caused his own demise."
The news didn't take long to make its way through the winding roads of Morgan County and straight into Jessie Franich's Porterville home.
"I can't honestly say I'm really that sad," said Jessie Franich, Stark's mother.
"I don't want to come across like I celebrate anybody that has died, but I can't, in my heart, sound that sad that he's gone," Franich said. "She did not deserve what happened to her."
Franich feels the man charged with killing her daughter wanted to end his problems in court.
"He didn't have the guts to stay here and face it, so this is what he did. In my eyes, he's as guilty as sin," Franich said.
The family is happy they won't have to see him anymore, but they wish they could have faced him in court.
"I had already started writing down everything I did have to say to him, and I am regretful I don't get to say the things I want to say to him," said Rana Franich, Stark's sister, "I can't say I'm happy he's gone. I can say I feel a little bit of relief. I do feel a little bit better today, and I don't know if that's right or wrong."
They know White won't face justice in a Weber County courtroom, but they do believe, or at least their faith tells them, he will face it somewhere else.
"He has no liar there to help him this time. He is on his own," Jessie Franich said.
As for the court case against White, his attorney Jim Retallick is planning on continuing to take the case through court to have the charges against White dropped. Retallick says White has always claimed he was innocent and wonders why jail administrators didn't have him on suicide watch.
The death will now be investigated by the Weber County Attorney's Office, per standard protocol for all in-custody deaths.