How do I begin to tell you about my crime and the insane, muddled mess I made out my life in just a few days? It feels like an enormous, devastating monster made from spontaneity, loneliness and regret came crashing out of nowhere, completely obliterating the woman I used to be as well as the bond that I had with my children and family. Not to mention the sense of security my victims felt before I temporarily lost my mind.
This whole thing happened because I desperately wanted off of the intense roller coaster that I had strapped myself into, turning me into a bundle of raw, frayed nerves. See, after doing the drug “ice” for the first time three days prior, I was still wide awake, going out of my mind. I just wanted it to stop! Initially, my bright idea was to go to Walmart, grab some beer or wine, and walk out because I was flat broke and wasn’t expecting my direct deposit for several more days. I really needed a drink ASAP to counteract the “ice.”
As I’m parking I notice a woman about my age, alone and directly across the row from me, loading a bunch of groceries into the back of her SUV. She had a big, shiny purse just sitting there in the shopping cart, beckoning me to do something very stupid. In my mentally-fragmented, sleep-deprived state I quickly rationalized that if I had some money then not only could I purchase some wine, but maybe some pot and sleep aides, too. Here was my ticket to sleep and sanity! Goodbye scary, evil rollercoaster! Hello precious normalcy!
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Walking over to this poor, unsuspecting woman’s shopping cart, my Dodge Durango keys still in my hand for a quick getaway, I remember thinking to myself “Stop! Don’t do this, Christine! This is Crazy!” But my body kept right on going. Pretending to head for the store’s entrance, I lifted her purse out of the cart and headed back toward my SUV. The woman was completely oblivious to what I had just done, but all of a sudden I hear “Mom! That woman just took your purse!” I took a brief peek behind me to see a teen pop out of the back seat. I was so focused on the purse I hadn’t even noticed. I’d barely got in my own car and locked it before the woman and her daughter were banging on my door, trying to get it open. They were also trying to bust open my windows (not that I blame them). All of this happened in the span of one minute.
Thoroughly freaked out at this point, I drove off too shocked by what I’d just done to even worry about money, pot, alcohol. Plainly, I am not an experienced criminal. The woman’s iPhone was tracked via GPS, and, soon enough, there was a knock on the door. Before I could answer it, it flew open, in charging three cops, guns drawn. Let me assure you this is just as nerve-racking as you would expect. Being tweeked out of my mind sure didn’t help matters much; I’m surprised they didn’t have to pry me off the ceiling.
After searching my house for a while, the cops found and confiscated a few random insignificant items, along with an old, dull, 3-inch pocket knife that had belonged to my papa before he passed away.
One officer returned to Walmart and interviewed the mother and daughter on a camcorder (which I was able to view before my trial). In the recording, the teen tells the officer what happened and was completely truthful. The officer then asks her a series of questions:
“What did the woman have in her hand?”
“My mom’s purse.”
“Okay and what was else was in her hand?”
“Oh yeah—something small, shiny, and silver.”
“Like a knife? What did the knife’s handle look like?”
The officer told the girl that I had a knife in my hand instead of her telling him. The D.A. was later able to have this video suppressed from the jury on some silly technicality. Even the woman testified that the only thing she saw in my hands were my keys and her purse. The surveillance video from the Walmart parking lot clearly showed the entire incident from beginning to end, illuminated by huge lights.
Eight months later at trial, the A.D.A Brett Smith directed the jury to disregard the surveillance video because it “[didn’t] tell the whole story,” even though it did. I never threatened anyone with a knife. I didn’t hurt, touch, or say anything to anyone the entire time.
After deliberating for almost three days, they finally found me guilty of Aggravated Robbery—a 1st degree felony—that is on par with premeditated murder. I was sentenced to 20 years and have to do at least 10 before I am eligible for parole, unless I win my appeal. I haven’t heard anything about it yet. Please don’t get me wrong—I really do feel horrible for what I did, but it was theft, not aggravated robbery. I should be in prison but not for something so severe.
My kids were with their father the week of the crime. We shared 50/50 joint custody and our divorce had just been finalized in December of 2012 (a month before the incident). After seeing some friends that I used to live next to, I decided to let off some steam and I drank way too much. Then I say “yes” when offered a drug that I’d never even seen before. My children were 1½, 4, and 9 years old when I was arrested. That was over 2 years ago. Everything happened so fast and now my three sweet kiddos are growing up without their mom. I pray all the time that I’ll win my appeal and I know without a shadow of a doubt that I’ll never do drugs or steal from anyone again. I will live my life with purpose, joy, love, and, above all else, gratitude to God.
Christine White is serving 20 years in Texas for Aggravated Robbery.
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Christine White #1884794
1401 State School Road
Gatesville, TX 76599