Misty Dawn Wilmeth’s death during “kinky sex” was a tragic accident and doesn’t rate a reckless-homicide charge, a defense attorney argued Monday.
But the judge disagreed. Evidence against Lonnie Lee White may merit a tougher indictment, Roane County General Sessions Judge Jeff Wicks said.
Some of the facts troubled him, Wicks said as he sent the case to the grand jury after Monday’s preliminary hearing.
There were Wilmeth’s blackened eyes, he said, and testimony that White had dragged her nude body into his back yard after her death March 10.
The Rockwood woman would have been 29 years old the next day.
White, 46, a registered sex offender, is accused of killing the woman as they had what police say White described as “kinky sex.”
White told police he’d picked up Wilmeth earlier that evening and didn’t know her name, Russell testified.
“White told me she wanted rough sex, and he choked her, and she quit breathing,” Roane County Detective Greg Russell testified.
The act is called erotic asphyxiation and involves the intentional deprivation of oxygen to the brain for the purpose of sexual arousal.
Defense attorney Robert L. Vogel called Wilmeth a “risk-taker.” Vogel said: “This was a lady asking for kinky sex, and it went too far.”
According to Russell, White told him Wilmeth “got a blank stare on her face” as he choked her. “He (White) said he might have smacked her in the face to try to revive her.” “If you’re trying to wake someone up, you don’t black both eyes and put a knot on her head,” Russell testified.
Wilmeth’s body was found lying prostrate about 40 feet away from White’s home near a wooded area in his back yard.
Wicks did grant Vogel’s motion seeking a bond reduction; the judge dropped bail from $250,000 to $200,000. White remains in the Roane County Jail.
Wilmeth’s mother, Angela Anita Hagler of Rockwood, and her aunt, Delilah Crabtree of the Ozone community, cried quietly during Monday’s hearing.
“The police rang my doorbell on my daughter’s 29th birthday to tell me my only child had been murdered,” Hagler said.