HAMILTON, Ohio — A Middletown teenager accused in the shooting death of another 17-year-old last year has been convicted of murder.
The jury deliberated for less than two hours Thursday in the case of Gonnii White, accused of killing Joseph Davis in May 2018. White was charged as an adult with the specifications he used a firearm and was participating in a gang at the time.
White faces a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 19 years. Judge Noah Powers II set sentencing for July 15.
White said he never shot a weapon until he shot Davis on May 29, 2018. White said he saw Davis, of Middletown, reach for something in his waistband, and since he “feared” for his life, he fired one warning shot in the air.
Gonnii White, 17, of Middletown taken to Buter County Jail after being found guilty of murder with gun and gang specifications @journalnews @rickmccrabb @CityMiddletown @MPDOhio pic.twitter.com/ARp6ivnHOr
— Rick McCrabb (@rickmccrabb) June 13, 2019
He then closed his eyes and “started shooting,” White testified.
Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Brad Burress noted Davis was shot four times, and when he asked White about his accuracy for the first time firing a gun, White said, “Lucky.”
Defense attorney Tim Upton said he plans to appeal. Upton contends the shooting was in self defense and the defense of others.
White was tried as an adult after the case was bound over to Common Pleas Court by Juvenile Court Judge Kathleen Romans.
White said in May 2018 there was a fight and shots were fired at Douglass Park near his Middletown home. White said he was given a gun by a friend and he took the gun home on May 28, 2018. The next day, White put the gun in his pocket and carried it the rest of the day, he testified.
While said he never intended to shoot Davis that night. But as he was walking near the area of Woodlawn Avenue and Garfield Street, White said he ran into Davis, who was riding a bike. White said he had seen Davis with a gun four or five times over the years, so when Davis reached for something, White said he shot him.
“He seen us coming after him,” White said. “I thought he was armed.”
When questioned why he needed to shoot, White said he couldn’t “run from a bullet.”