This memorial website was created in the memory of our loved one, Billy Lee Humphreys, who was born in Tennessee on September 30, 1966 and was murdered February 27, 1998.
Billy Lee was our second child. He was murdered while working at a gas station on Highway 79 south here in Paris ,TN. He was murdered by his wife's cousin, Steven A. White, who was 17 years old at the time. He was convicted for first-degree murder on December 11, 1998. Others were involved in his murder and to this day has not been bought to justice. Billy Lee and his wife were getting a divorce. Billy Lee was living home at the time of his murder.
Billy Lee was always smiling. He loved everbody. He loved his family with all his heart. He left behind two sisters, Marlene and Ruthie. Also, two childen - Tabitha and Billy Lee ll.
Some of Billy's favorite things: cowboys hats, boots and horses. Billy, just a country boy.
If you see this and know others involved, please contact us.
This article was written and posted in the Paris Post Intelligencer No. 169 here in Paris, Tn. on Dec .11,1998 by P.I.Ass. News Editor, Ken Walker.
We would like to say it was a job well done. We would also like to take this opportunity to say Thank you for the actually of the trial. May God Bless each of you.
Jury convicts 18 -year old White in Humphreys murder
By Ken Walker
P-I Asst. News Editor
An 18 year-old Paris man was found guilty this morning by a Henry County Circut Court jury of first-degree murder in the February killing of a gas station attendant.
Yet prosecutors and police investigators maintain the defendant's father is still considered a suspect in the case.
Steven Andrew White, 1305 Highway 69 northwest of Paris, was given an automatic life sentence as a result of the verdict. The jury found him guity of killing Billy Lee Humphreys,who was 31 at the time he was murdered Feb. 27 at the Fuel Pro gas station on Tyson Avenue.
Assistant District Attorney Steve Garrett said the life verdict basically means White will have to serve at least 51 years in prison before being considered for parole.
Closing arguments were presented this morning by prosecutor Garrett and White's lawyer, public defender Jeff Fagan . The seven man, five-woman jury began deliberations about 10:10 a.m. and returned the verdict about 11:50 a.m.
''We had a strong case going in," said Garrett. "The statements he (White) made to several other people actually constituted a confession. The admissions and confessions he made were actually our strongest building block."
Garrett spent Thursday building a case against White, calling 16 prosecution witnesses to testify. He rested his case just after 5:00 pm. Thursday. Fagan did not call any defense witnesses this morning, with the triall instead moving straight to closing arguments.
One of Garrett's witnesses Thursday was Paris Police Department investigator Donnie Blackwell, who had been part of the team investigating the case." Are there other people who are suspects in this case?" Garrett asked Blackwell.
Yes," Blackwell replied.
"Is J.B. White ( Steve's father) one of them?" asked Garrett. "Yes, we're trying to build a case to prosecute .J.B," said Blackwell.
Garrett said this morning that "its not typical, but it's not really that rare" to name another person other than the defendant as a suspect during a triall.
"As far as the involvement of others, I' ve probably said all I can say right now," said Garrett.
Rodney Lambert, the husband of Humphreys' sister, Marlene, said he was speaking on behalf of the Humphreys family in saying they were absolutely comfortable with the verdict.
"We want the public to know that Billy Lee truly loved his kids and wife." said Lambert, and would have given everything he had for them. But, some of those people he truly loved betrayed him." He (White) showed no remorse, and never apologized," said Lambert.
Referring to J.B. White's status as a remaining suspect in the case, Lambert said ,"We feel there 's more than just Steve involved in this."
Brain Byrd, special agent with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, testified Thursday that the probable muder weapon has not been recovered by authorities. There were two guns taken from White's home during the investigation,a.357- caliber revolver and a 9 mm semi- automatic.
However, Don Carmen, a ballistics expert with TBI, testified that he had studied bullet fragments taken from Humphreys' body and from inside the station, and he said the 9 mm gun could be ruled out as the murder weapon.
He said the .357 -caliber gun had the same class characteristics as the murder weapon, but not the same individual characteristics. That means the .357 taken from White's home was one of thousands of guns that could have been the murder weapon.
Of the 16 witnesses called by Garrett Thursday, six were teenagers who were friends of White's and had seen him the night of the murder or shortly thereafter.
Of those six, the most damaging testimony came from Carl Denton, 17, who described himself as a foster brother of White's who was living with White and his family at the time of the murder. White was also 17 at the time of the murder, but has since turned 18.
Denton said White had made statements about his dislike of Billy Humphreys as early as the previous October.
Humphreys was married to J.B. White's niece, Shirley Jean, but was estranged from her. Shirley Jean Humphreys' daughter, Tabitha,who was 15 a the time,was a former girlfriend of Denton's and was very close friends with her cousin, Steve White.
Denton described the events of Feb. 27 in this basic manner:
White , Denton and Bryan Beecham, another foster brother who was living with the White family dropped off several friends, including White's girlfriend, Crystal Roberts, about 7 p.m. at the Magic Wheels skating rink.
The three then drove, with White behind the wheel of a family van, to Paree Twin Cinema, where Denton planned to meet his girlfriend. The movie was sold out and Denton did not see his girlfriend there, so the three drove away.
White drove past Fuel Pro to see if Humphreys was working and according to Denton, said he was going to shoot Humphreys. White had often commented about how he didn't like Humphreys because he sometimes beat and abused Shirley Jean and Tabitha Humphreys.
"However, in Tabitha Humphreys ' testimony later Thursday, she denied that Billy Humphreys had ever beaten or abused her or her mother.)
The trio drove to Maplewood Cemetery, located behind and to the west of the gas station, and around. They then drove to the skating rink again, where they dropped off Beecham.
"Beecham later testified that White had said,: I'm gonna do it " while the three were at the cemetery, and Beecham had asked to go to the skating rink because he didn't want to be a part of it . White had asked Beecham, "Are you scared?" Beecham said.)
White and Denton then drove back to the cemetery, where White talked about various ways that he could kill Humphreys. There was a bag inside the van that White had pointed to and indicated there was a gun inside, Denton said, though Denton never saw the gun.
White then pulled out a gym bag full of clothing, some of them Army type fatigues and changed clothes. He was wearing a pair of black-and-white Reebok tennis shoes.
(Blackwell later testifed that he found shoe prints behind the gas station. One set appeared to be going toward the station at the pace of someone walking, while another set appeared to be going away from the station at the pace of someone running. Blackwell prepared moldings of seven shoe- prints and sent them to the TBI. (A bureau shoeprint expert, Linda Littlejohn, testified that six of the shoeprint molds matched the size shape and tread design of a pair of shoes found buried in White's yard March 2. Three matched the left shoe and three matched the right shoe, she said, but the seventh shoe print didn't match either.)
Denton said White left the van sometime between 7:50p.m. and 8 p.m. walking down a hill toward the gas station and dissappearing from Denton's sight. Denton said he stayed at the van, then heard two gunshots about 8:30 P.M.
White came running back toward the van about 8:35 P.M. and White breathing really hard," Denton said. White took off the clothes and put them behind a tombstone in the cemetery.
After the two drove away from the cemetery in the van, Denton said White told him, "I did it ," and described the way he had shot Humphreys. He said White told him he had fired one shot toward Humphreys ' face. Humphreys had fallen and White then shot him in the back of the head. (That was consistent with testimony from Dr. Wendy Gunther, the forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy
on Humphreys. She said she had found traces of stippling, or powder that actually tattoos itself to skin, in a band across Humphreys' eyes, indicating one bullet had come very close to Humphreys' face, but had missed. The other bullet, she said, had struck the back of his head from a distance of six to 18 inches away and had gone through his brain, killing him.)
White and Denton drove back to the skating rink just after 8:40 p.m. where White told Denton he was going to use a pager to contact J.B. White and tell him that Humphreys was dead. Denton said he saw
White on the phone, but did not hear the conversation. (Several of White's friends testified Thursday that White had acted strangely at that point, with various descriptions calling White "sweaty," "shaking" and "paranoid" while at the skating rink that time.)
White and Denton went back to the White's home, where J.B. took the two into a room and Steve told his father that Humphreys was dead. Denton said J.B. White told Steve he would give him $1,000 and a 9 mm gun.
He said J.B. White then told his son and Denton to drive to Murray and that their alibi would be that they had been at the skating rink, then at a gym on Highway 79 northeast of Paris and then gone to Murray that night.
Fagan cross-examined Denton, during which Denton admitted that for the 40-minute period between 7:50 and 8:30, Denton didn't see Steve White and didn't know what Steve White had done. Denton also testified he never saw Steve White with a gun.
Denton apparently had never talked alone with police or prosecutors untill about three to four weeks ago, having always appeared at prior interviews with a lawyer.
Garrett noted in his closing argument this morning that Steve White had given descriptions of how he killed Humphreys to two different people -
Denton and Jason Mobley, a friend of White's who also testified Thursday.
He emphasized that White had told friends the morning of the killing that he was going to "take care of business," and that he had told Denton while on their way to Murray his "ears were still ringing."
In Fagan's closing argument this morning, he said, "A lot of people took the stand yesterday and made assumptions. The state wants you to assume a lot of things that they haven't presented."
Fagan said: "he also found it interesting that Denton hadn't been charged with anything, even though he's a big part of this." He also implied Steve White might be covering up for his father, J.B. White.
"If Steve is the cold-blooded killer they say he is, it wouldn't have taken 45 minutes for him to go from that cemetery down to that gas station and back," said Fagan. "What took place in that 45 minutes? Who else was down there?"
"How does he (Steve) know what happened in that buildingwell enough to describe it so well? There were plenty of opportunities for J.B. White to have told him what happened."
This was put in the paper after the Trial
MURDER INVESTIGATION CONTINUES
The murder of a Paris gas station attendant more than 15 months ago has resulted in one defendant being imprisoned for life, but law enforcement officials and prosecutors aren't convinced the case is
Steven Andrew White 18 is serving a life sentence with the possiblity of parole after being convicted Dec.11 of first-degree murder. White is a prisoner in the state's Northwest Correctional Facility in Tiptonville.
During White's trial , prosecutors and police investigators maintained that his father, J.B.White, was still considered a suspect in the murder of Billy Lee Humphreys, who was 31 at the time he was killed Feb. 27, 1998, at the Fuel Pro gas station on Tyson Avenue.
"From the DA'S perspective, this case is still open," said Assistant District Attorney Steve Garrett, who was the prosecutor in Steve White's trial. "We'll investigate and pursue any viable leads that emerge on the horizon."
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has not closed the book on the case, either. Brian Byrd, a special agent with the TBI who worked on the original case, said recently "the investigation is still ongoing."
Meanwhile, Humphreys's mother, Bobbie Humphreys, said this morning she and her family believe as many as four other people, in addition to Steve White, were involed in the crime.
The Humpheys family is offering a$1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of each other person who may have been involved in the murder. All information about the case should be provided to law enforcement officials first. The Humphreys family can be reached at 1-731-641-0045.
Steve White is appealing his conviction. Barring a reversal of the December verdict, he'll have to serve at least 51 years in prison before being considered for parole.
He was 17 at the time of the murder. The motive established during the two-day triall in December centered on White's intense dislike for Humphreys, who was married to White's cousin.