South Carolina man pleads guilty to premeditated murder of Virginia police officer

A South Carolina man has pleaded guilty to the premeditated murder of a West Virginia police officer in 2021.

WISE, Virginia – A South Carolina man has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the 2021 shooting death of a West Virginia police officer.

Michael Donivan White, 36, of Cross, South Carolina, entered his guilty plea in Wise County District Court on Thursday to the amended charge in connection with the death of Big Stone Gap Officer Michael Chandler, the Kingsport Times-News reported. Chandler, 29, was shot on Nov. 13, 2021, while responding to a call just outside the Big Stone Gap boundaries and died that same evening. White was arrested in Tennessee.

White originally faced 13 charges, including murder of a police officer and premeditated murder, but he agreed to plead guilty to premeditated murder if prosecutors would seek a 40- to 100-year sentence instead of life, Wise County Prosecutor Brett Hall said. Prosecutors have consulted with Chandler's family, including his widow, Natasha Chandler, and Big Stone Gap Police Chief Steve Hamm, Hall said.

Federal prosecutors and Hall's office are currently working on a similar agreement regarding the federal charges White faces in connection with Chandler's death, Hall said.

White's sentencing is scheduled for August 21.

Anna Harden

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