A man charged with murdering a public official in Oregon was sentenced Tuesday to nearly 39 years to life behind bars for trying to kill a Los Angeles Police Officer who was responding to a call of a car burglary in Hollywood.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Bernie La Forteza imposed the term of 38 years and eight months to life on Dirck White, 43, who was convicted May 4 of one count each of attempted murder of a police officer, assault with a semiautomatic firearm on a police officer, exhibiting a firearm with intent to resist arrest, second-degree burglary of a vehicle and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Deputy District Attorney Robert Serna told jurors during his closing argument last month that White, who’s accused of shooting Clackamas County Assistant Weighmaster Grady Waxenfelter three times in the head during a Feb. 6, 2014, traffic stop, was “on the run” for about 10 months before two LAPD officers responded to a call of a car break-in on Nov. 30, 2014, in the 5400 block of Lemon Grove Avenue.
“It’s these two officers that are standing between him and freedom,” Serna told the panel, saying that “White took off running with “a crucial piece of evidence against him … the murder weapon” in the Oregon killing.
“The only way that he’s going to get away from this” is to fire on one of the officers once they split up, Serna said. “You think there’s any way in God’s green Earth that he’s going to surrender?”
When Officer Stuart Jaye fired twice and struck White in the arm, White slid around the front of a parked vehicle and fired back, the prosecutor said.
“His aim was a little bit low,” and the bullet hit the roof of a car, according to Serna.
Jaye’s partner ultimately shot White in the face, incapacitating him, Serna told jurors.
Neither officer was wounded.
The casing found at the scene was matched by ballistics experts to the gun used to shoot Waxenfelter in Oregon, according to the prosecutor.
White’s attorney contended the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt and used the Oregon shooting to cover up that failure, but acknowledged that her client had broken into the car and said it would be “fair” if jurors wanted to convict him of the burglary count.
“Now that he’s been sentenced in L.A. County, we will start the process to get him up here to Oregon to face the charges here. In Oregon, he’s been charged by the grand jury with murder and felon in possession of a firearm,” said Scott Healy, senior deputy district attorney in Clackamas County.
—City News Service