BROOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. - A 55-year-old ex-convict has confessed to beating and strangling a 24-year-old neighbor as part of a sexual fantasy, hiding her naked body and then returning to her central Michigan trailer home and helping her 3-year-old son get costumed for Halloween, authorities said Thursday.
John D. White was arraigned Thursday in Mount Pleasant on first-degree murder charges and ordered jailed without bond.
White told the judge that he was a church employee until Wednesday.
According to an affidavit that was used in his arrest warrant, White admitted that for two weeks he thought about killing Rebekah Gay and having sex with her dead body.
White told investigators he went to Gay's trailer about 2 a.m. Wednesday, struck her head repeatedly with a mallet, then strangled her with a zip tie. He said he stripped her body but did not remember carrying out a sex act.
Authorities say White led them to Gay's body, half a mile from the home in Isabella County's Broomfield Township.
Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski told reporters that White had known Gay for some time but was not a close friend.
Gay's 3-year-old son was home at the time his mother was killed, Mioduszewski said, but was unharmed.
"Hopefully he was sleeping and didn't hear or see anything," the sheriff said.
After using his pickup truck to move Gay's body, the mallet and bloody towels, White returned to her trailer, the sheriff said.
He said White took care of the boy in the morning, dressed him in his Halloween costume and took him to an area Meijer store to be picked up by his father, a Midland resident.
"The suspect really liked this young man," Mioduszewski said.
A judge appointed a public defender to represent White, who is scheduled to return to court Nov. 8.
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