JewelryMart murder defendant withdraws insanity plea ahead of closing arguments

Barry White booking photo. (Courtesy SFPD)

The defendant in a double murder trial that involved a vicious attack at a SoMa jewelry wholesaler in 2013 has withdrawn his plea of insanity days before the case’s closing arguments are set to begin.

Barry White, who allegedly killed two women on July 12, 2013, after arguing with their boss at the JewelryMart at 888 Brannan St., withdrew his plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, said Deputy Public Defender Kwixuan Maloof.

“He decided to withdraw the insanity plea,” said Maloof, who noted that if his client was found to be insane, he could have been sent to a state mental hospital instead of prison. Now, if White is found guilty, he will be sentenced to prison.

Much of the fatal rampage allegedly committed by White, 27, was captured in surveillance videos. White faces 16 felony charges in connection with the attack.

SEE RELATED: Opening statements offer differing mindsets of alleged JewelryMart double killer

White came to the store that day because he thought he had overpaid for a custom gold necklace at Victoga Inc., a jewelry store in the GiftCenter & JewelryMart.

White, an Antioch resident who was 23 at the time of the killings, shot two woman and attacked their boss with a knife, nearly decapitating one victim. White allegedly killed Lina Lim, 51, and Khin Min, 35. He injured their boss Vic Hung.

In video footage shown in court,White first fired a .38 Special revolver point black at Hung and then at Lim. While the pair crawled into another part of the store, White approached Min, grabbed her, and cut her throat. White then found Lim and slit her throat and tried to killed Hung, who fought him off.

Barry White booking photo. (Courtesy SFPD)

After the violence inside the store, White walked out of the store with a blood-stained shirt. He was then captured on video opening fire on a group of police officers before he was arrested.

White had been shot in the head by an East Bay police officer in 2009 and his defense team was set to explain White’s actions through that injury impact on his mental stability.
“No one can be shot in the back of the head and not suffer a mental defect,” said Maloof in his opening statement.

Assistant District Attorney Diane Knoles is prosecuting the case, but the District Attorney’s Office did not comment on the status of the case other than to give the date of the closing arguments.

The closing arguments in the case are set to begin Wednesday in Department 19.

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