deadmonton - michael white - the untold story

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On July 12th, 2005 29-year-old Liana White was reported missing after she failed to show up for work at her nursing station in the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta.

Liana was four-months pregnant and the mother of a three-year-old daughter when she seemed to have disappeared into thin air.

Five days later her body was found lying in a ditch beside a country road between Edmonton and St. Albert.

Exclusive to the Last Link on the Left

On July 18th Liana's husband, 28-year-old Michael White, was charged with second-degree murder and offering an indignity to a dead body.

Eighteen months later a jury found White guilty of murdering his wife and Justice Mary Moreau of Court of Queen's Bench sentenced him to life in prison with no chance of parole for 17 years.

In March 2009 White's appeal to have his conviction overturned and be granted a new trial was denied.

The sensational story captured not only local interest but garnered national and international coverage as well. But while much has been reported about the case, one story has not been told – until now.

Edmonton crime reporter Byron Christopher spent considerable time with Michael White. His exclusive access to the accused man kept the murder of Liana White at the top of local headlines until the veteran reporter was pulled off the story by his employer.

What follows is Christopher's own words describing his involvement in the case and he reveals numerous details about the matter that have never before been made public.

Not only is the story an insight into how the criminal justice system served Michael White, Christopher also offers up his unqiue inside observations on how the media handled their coverage of White's story.

Readers of this article should prepare themselves for a long visit.

The novella-length story is a fascinating glimpse into not only the crime itself ... but how one reporter managed to develop a near-exclusive personal relationship with a man wanted not just by the law – but by every other news outlet in the country.

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chapters one through ten | eleven through twenty
twenty-one through thirty | thirty-one through thirty-eight

Chapter One - Breaking News

Byron Christopher recalls how he first became involved in the Michael White story ... and how ongoing friction between himself and rival news media first figured in the matter » read chapter »

Chapter Two - The First Interview

Christopher details his first encounter with Michael White inside the Edmonton Remand Centre. White explains his choice of legal representation, a decision that would have lasting consequences » read chapter »

Chapter Three - Battling Lawyer Larry Anderson and Law Enforcement

Christopher's exclusive interview with Michael White inside the Edmonton Remand Centre ruffles feathers with law enforcement who accuse him of entering the facility under false pretences, prompting an off-the-record meeting with a homicide detective » read chapter »

Chapter Four - Liana's Funeral

Christopher covers Liana's funeral and later gets a return phone call from Michael White, portions of which are broadcast – the first public statements made by White after his arrest » read chapter »

Chapter Five - International Coverage

Christopher details his encounters with Fox Television » read chapter »

Chapter Six - Michael White Makes Bail

Christopher is accused of putting up $10,000 for Michael White's bail money – a reporter's dream, he says » read chapter »

Chapter Seven - 227 Warwick Crescent

Along with Michael and his stepfather, Larry Forbes, Christopher gets his first look at the alleged crime scene in Castle Downs » read chapter »

Chapter Eight - Searching The Graveyard

Christopher accompanies Michael White in a fruitless search for his wife's grave. Instead, an unusual discovery is made » read chapter »

Chapter Nine - "They say I'm a killer ... "

During one of their first meals together, Michael White asks Christopher: "What makes you think I won't kill you?" It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship » read chapter »

Chapter Ten - Searching:  For Liana's Body and ... Truth In The Media

While Christopher puzzles how Liana's body was found, Michael White questions the reporter about ethics in the media » read chapter »

Chapter Eleven - Michael White Re-visits The Ditch

Christopher takes White back to where Liana's body was found. Oddly, White twice asks the reporter if he thought he had killed his wife » read chapter »

Chapter Twelve - Problems With The Crime Scene

While visiting the ditch along 142nd Street on his own, peculiarities arise in Christopher's mind » read chapter »

Chapter Thirteen - Problems With Police Evidence

Christopher conducts an experiment to determine how long Liana White's body may have been laying in the ditch. Questions also arise about how visible her body was to passing motorists and joggers » read chapter »

Chapter Fourteen - A Warning From Police

A concerned Edmonton police detective tells Christopher to watch his ass » read chapter »

Chapter Fifteen - Changes Of Direction

A car Michael White repairs is subject to an unusual theft and his bail conditions prevent him from getting a Christmas gift to his daughter » read chapter »

Chapter Sixteen - Michael White Visits The Funeral Home

To gauge his reaction, Christopher takes White to the place where his wife was honoured. Ironically, the reporter's 70-year-old car dies during the trip » read chapter »

Chapter Seventeen - Looking For Work

After several job offers evaporated (murder allegations will do that, Christopher said), White found work at a firm whose employees spoke highly of the accused man » read chapter »

Chapter Eighteen - Police Theories

Christopher outlines what police think happened the morning Liana disappeared. He also describes his nasty encounters with Sid Vicious, the White family dog » read chapter »

Chapter Nineteen - An Innocent Man

Michael White's civil lawyer takes issue with police evidence and suggests investigators suffered from tunnel vision, comparing the case to that of David Milgaard » read chapter »

Chapter Twenty - The Forrest Gump of Accused Killers

A fellow broadcaster sees something unusual on the front of White's truck and also makes a wry observation about the accused man » read chapter »

Chapter Twenty-One - The Toaster

Michael White discovers that electrical appliances and bathtubs aren't a good mix » read chapter »

Chapter Twenty-Two - Joseph Laboucan Calls The White House

While Christopher answers phone calls, White has to answer to reporters » read chapter »

Chapter Twenty-Three - A Drive Through The Country

Christopher takes Michael White on a field trip to look into the Landon Karas-Doreen Bradley murder case and to meet Lacey Watson, who was accused of killing her husband. The only person not charged with murder in this part of the story is Christopher » read chapter »

Chapter Twenty-Four - Bail Revoked

White sells Liana's Ford Explorer and a petition with contentious wording is circulated that demands his bail be revoked. When White wants to turn himself in to police he is told instead to go and have a bite to eat – his last taste of freedom » read chapter »

Chapter Twenty-Five - "Expose The Trueth"

Now in custody, White gives Christopher the keys to 227 Warwick Crescent with instructions to uncover evidence to prove he's guilty » read chapter »

Chapter Twenty-Six - The White House Re-visited ... And Unusual Houseguests Arrive

Christopher provides readers with an intimate tour of the alleged scene of the crime scene as it was before White allowed some people in need to stay at the residence » read chapter »

Chapter Twenty-Seven - A Last Supper With Warren Henderson

The man who broke the story of the charges against Michael White was now in poor health » read chapter »

Chapter Twenty-Eight - Yanked Off The Case: A Lawyer and A Reporter

When a star lawyer is added to the bench, news and information superstation 630 CHED decides to bench their star reporter » read chapter »

Chapter Twenty-Nine - Donny Osmond and The Double-headed Two-foot Dildo

A car thief learns the perils of stealing a car from an important person and Christopher discovers there are some things prisoners don't ask » read chapter »

Chapter Thirty - Prison Diaries

Memoirs written behind bars detail the anguish Michael White felt » read chapter »

Chapter Thirty-One - The Search Warrant

Police serve 630 CHED with a search warrant – a move criticised by the Canadian Association of Journalists » read chapter »

Chapter Thirty-Two - "What's Journalism Come To?"

White's family resorts to hiring a lawyer in order to set the media straight » read chapter »

Chapter Thirty-Three - Guilty Verdict

"I've had better days," Michael White said after the verdict. Revealed also is that White had earlier rejected a plea bargain because he said he was innocent » read chapter »

Chapter Thirty-Four - Inmate White

White suffers injuries while inside the Remand Centre. When he arrives at the Max he receives a "good curb stomping" » read chapter »

Chapter Thirty-Five - Visits At The Max

White is ambushed inside prison (surprisingly, not by fellow cons) and loses an appeal to overturn his conviction » read chapter »

Chapter Thirty-Six - A Promise To Warren Henderson

Christopher plans for an interview » read chapter »

Chapter Thirty-Seven - A Photographic Tribute to Liana White

A life remembered » read chapter »

Chapter Thirty-Eight - Addendum

Michael White reacts to Christopher's story and how his mother-in-law marked Liana's grave. Also, White gets transferred to a prison in Ontario and wins a court settlement over the sale of his house » read chapter »

Byron Christopher image

Award-winning journalist Byron Christopher continues to work as a crime reporter based in Edmonton.

More about his 30-year career uncovering stories of international interest can be read here.

related pages of interest on the Last Link on the Left web site:

the michael white trial
remembering liana white | the real michael white | the Vegreville Observer article