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Suspect Pleads Guilty To Police Chief Shooting Death

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JACKSON, N.C. — A man accused of killing a Northampton County police chief during a traffic stop five years ago pleaded guilty Monday in connection with the shooting death.

Jason Hebert, 28, avoided the death penalty in a plea deal, but had to admit his guilt in connection with the July 2000 death of Rich Square Police Chief Joe White.

"He didn't deserve to die," said a tearful Hebert in court.

During his testimony, Hebert testified that he panicked when White asked him to get out of the car. He said he had used a friend's gun that was under his front seat to shoot White once in the head. Hebert's testimony ended speculation that White might have been killed with his own gun.

Hebert also told White's family that he was sorry for what he did and asked for their forgiveness. The victim's widow said she has no sympathy for her husband's killer, but agreed to his plea because she could not endure a lengthy court trial.

"At least we heard his version of it," said Joyce White, who said she still keeps a picture of her husband close by, as well as his uniform. "And life without the possibility of parole -- he will have a long time to sit and think about what he did."

Joyce White said Hebert's admission to guilt, however, was not closure for her.

"He can't be replaced," she said. "And as for closure, no there won't be any closure because surely he will not be back. This is the thing I have to live with for the rest of my life."

Hebert was captured in Louisiana in 2003 and had been held awaiting trial for more than two years.


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