THE BETTY WILSON CASE
On June 1, 1994, after spending two years behind bars, James White gave the following sworn statement. The night before he was to give this statement to the court, he was visited by the prosecuting District Attorney, Jimmy Fry, who reminded White of his plea bargaining agreement with the State of Alabama and if he recanted his original testimony, he would be tried for perjury and capital murder. When White appeared in court he took the fifth amendment. There are those of us who believe both James White and Betty Wilson were used by a corrupt legal system for personal political gain.
I, James D. White, being of sound mind, do of my own free well, and without coercion, enhancement, or inducement other than my desire to find personal peace with my conscience by correcting the wrongful and harmful injury I've done to Mrs. Betty Wilson, do offer this sworn statement to all interested parties attesting to her innocence and the contrived testimony given against her by me during Mrs. Wilson's criminal prosecution and trial for the murder of her deceased husband, Doctor Jack Wilson.
I have long been diagnosed as being severely manic depressive and have a lengthy history of being emotionally unstable. I have been hospitalized on several occasions for the aforementioned mental disorders and take prescription mood altering drugs on a permanent basis for the purpose of treating these mental disorders.
In addition, I am a chronic alcoholic and chemical substance abuser, which causes me to experience frequent and prolonged states of alcohol induced amnesia (blackouts) where I have absolutely no awareness or recall of my actions or the events which transpired during these blackout episodes. My only references to my actions and the events which occur during these episodes are the fragmented refabrications I am able to construct from the suggestions of others who may or may not have actual knowledge of my actions and of what occurred during my periods of obliviousness.
During the Spring of 1991, I had an occasion to meet Mrs. Betty Wilson's sister, Mrs. Peggy Lowe, for the first time by way of her being a school teacher at my daughter's elementary school. As a result of our initial informal introduction. Mrs. Lowe and I formed an amicable acquaintance. In the course of that acquaintance, Mrs. Lowe would recommend me for jobs as a handyman as a kindness to me, which helped to supplement my income as a short order cook.
As a result of the kindness shown to me by Mrs. Lowe, I began to form romantic notions toward her, but when I professed my feelings toward her. Mrs. Lowe merely laughed at me and rebuffed me in what I perceived as being demeaning, which made me feel inadequate, humiliated and resentful toward her. I immediately resorted to soothing my injured pride and feelings of rejection by heavy drinking and drug use.
The weeks after Mrs. Lowe's rejection and prior to my arrest for the murder of Dr. Jack Wilson were, and still are a visual blur to me. My last lurid memory of the period was deciding in a drunken state to travel to Roanoke, Alabama to visit my children by my third wife.
My only recollection after making the decision to visit my children is my being interrogated by Detective Mickey Brantley and Wayne Sharpe at the Shelby County Sheriff's office concerning the murder of Dr. Jack Wilson.
I initially denied any involvement in the murder of Dr. Wilson but in reality, I could not remember nothing of what I'd said during the weeks prior to my arrest. I did not believe that I'd committed this crime but Detectives Brantley and Sharpe kept insisting that they knew things that I didn't which proved that I murdered Dr. Wilson and kept demanding that I confess to killing Dr. Wilson.
I don't know how long I had been without the Lithium medication which had been prescribed to treat my mental disorders, but I doubt if I had been taking it during my blackout episode. I don't even know if I was still intoxicated from the alcohol and pills I'd been drinking and taking. But I do remember being completely confused and disorientated and unable to separate reality from fantasy.
Detectives Sharpe and Brantley denied my request for my medication and an attorney, and kept on interrogating me so insistently and confidently that I eventually began to think that what they were bombarding me with was true, and found myself being persuaded that I might have murdered Dr. Wilson, especially since there had been so many other occasions in my life in which I'd done things that I could not remember.
Detectives Brantley and Sharpe just kept threatening me over and over again that if I didn't confess to the murder of Dr. Wilson and implicate Mrs. Lowe and Mrs. Wilson in it that they'd send me to the electric chair, which frightened me senseless and made me feel desperate to appease them.
They (the detectives) kept telling me that it was Mrs. Lowe and Mrs. Wilson they really wanted to get. But if I didn't help them convict them, they'd send me to the electric chair. The longer they hounded me the more confused, afraid and desperate I became until I reached a point where I was willing to say anything they wanted me to in order to make them leave me alone.
My resentment toward Mrs. Lowe's rejection was also an incentive which influenced me to make the false statements to the detectives implicating her and Mrs. Wilson in the murder of Doctor Wilson.
I might add that all my life I've been intimidated by authority figures, especially policemen, and it has been my inclination when being confronted by them to deflect their anger at by assigning blame to others, and that's what I did in that instance. I simply used the theory of the crime related to me to refabricate a false and concocted narrative of Dr. Jack Wilson's murder which involved me as the perpetrator and Mrs. Lowe and Mrs. Wilson as conspirators.
In reality, I've never even met or spoken with Mrs. Wilson - not even to this day. I was never propositioned by Mrs. Peggy Lowe to murder Dr. Jack Wilson. I made it all up in order to appease detectives, Mickey Brantley and Wayne Sharpe, so they would stop hounding me and threatening to send me to the electric chair.
Later on, after I had been transported to the Madison County Jail, and the realization of what I'd told the Detectives occurred to me I tried to explain to my court appointed attorney that I'd made it all up to satisfy [Missing from my copy. Perhaps "to satisfy Detectives Brantley and Sharpe?"] I could not pay him a fee of $80,000.00 to defend me in a trial that he wasn't going to allow me the change my story or defend me, other than to pled me guilty in accordance to my "life sentence" deal offered me by the prosecution in exchange for my false testimony against Mrs. Betty Wilson and Mrs. Peggy Lowe.
Throughout my interrogations by detectives and my pre-trial confinement, my manic depression medicine was withheld from me. When I tried to make people on the outside of the jail aware of what I was being pressured into doing to Mrs. Wilson and Mrs. Lowe, the jail administrators threatened to punish me and told me that I wouldn't be given my medication until after I testified against Mrs. Lowe and Mrs. Wilson.>/p>
Subsequently, I became extremely depressed and ceased to care about anything. I just wanted to get it over with, so I'd be transferred from the Madison County Jail to prison. As a result of my dependency I went ahead and pled guilty to the murder of Dr. Jack Wilson, which I'm now positive that I had nothing to do with it and gave false testimony against Mrs. Betty Wilson and Mrs. Peggy Lowe.
At first I tried to justify the lies I told about Mrs. Wilson and Mrs. Lowe in court with the rationale that even though I didn't actually remember any of what I was saying, that maybe what the detectives induced me to say against them was true. But I realize now with profound certainty that what I really did was lie on Mrs. Betty Wilson and Mrs. Peggy Lowe in order to get myself out of peril and also to get back at Peggy for making me feel that I wasn't good enough for her.
Having found my solution in Christ, I realize that I cannot live with myself without trying to undo the tragedy I've caused these two innocent women, especially considering that their only wrong was in one of them being kind to me. I find myself constantly hounded by the realization of the grief and hardship I've cause them, and I'm certain that I can know no peace until my conscience is cleared from this guilt.
Further I saith not.
Subscribed and sworn to before me