Confessed murderer tells his story

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 13, 2005

JACKSON – Jason Dwayne Hebert gave his account of what happened Sunday, July 16, 2000 during Monday morning’s court proceeding here.

In a plea bargain reached between Judicial District 6B Attorney Valerie Asbell and defense attorneys, Hebert pled guilty to the murder of Rich Square Police Chief Joe White and to the use of a dangerous weapon during a robbery.

Hebert stood at the defense table and addressed the White family.

&uot;First off, I want to say thank you to the entire White family,&uot; he said. &uot;I am so grateful for you allowing me to stand here and for sparing my life. Thank you.&uot;

Hebert said he woke up between 12 noon and 12:30 p.m. Sunday, July 16, 2000 and headed to Cofield to meet a female friend. He said he got into traffic and had to hit the brakes hard and that is when the gun slid from under the passenger’s seat. He said he it was the first time he had seen the gun or knew it was there.

&uot;It was not mines,&uot; he said. &uot;I never owned a gun before. I don’t like guns.&uot;

Hebert stopped as he broke down sobbing.

He continued, saying he picked up the gun and put it under his own seat and continued to Cofield where he spent some time with his friend.

&uot;I took a different route to let some time go by,&uot; he said. &uot;When I did so, I got lost. I ended up in Murfreesboro, North Carolina. From there, I ended up in Rich Square, North Carolina. It’s the only time I’ve ever been to Rich Square.&uot;

Hebert said in Rich Square, Chief White initiated a traffic stop because Hebert was speeding. The confessed murderer said he pulled over in the parking lot of the dialysis center and White came to his driver’s side door.

In his statement, Hebert said the chief asked for license and registration, but he didn’t have a license. He provided registration which the chief looked at and returned. The chief then asked for Hebert’s ID card which he also looked at and returned.

In Hebert’s wallet, the chief saw an &uot;old commissary card&uot; and asked if he was in the Navy. Hebert said he had just gotten out.

According to Hebert, the discussion continued and the chief at some point pulled out his card and showed that he was in the Navy as well.

&uot;After we talked, Mr. White asked me to step out of my vehicle and follow him to his,&uot; Hebert said. &uot;During the conversation I remembered the gun under the seat.&uot;

The self-confessed killer said he was thinking the entire time that he didn’t want White to find the gun and was thinking about hiding it under the floor mat.

Hebert said the chief was walking to his car and he got out, but did not follow him because he was trying to hide the gun.

&uot;When I finally did get my hands on the gun, it was in my left hand,&uot; Hebert said. &uot;The whole time I’m looking at Mr. White as he is walking to his vehicle.&uot;

Hebert said White turned and asked what he was doing.

&uot;When he said hey, what are you doing, I saw him put his right hand on his right hip,&uot; Hebert said. &uot;I was assuming he was reaching for his gun.

&uot;When I saw this, I switched the gun to my right hand and came up and fired the gun,&uot; he said. &uot;I panicked. I panicked.&uot;

The confessed murderer said there wasn’t a day that went by that he didn’t think about that moment.

&uot;He didn’t deserve to die,&uot; he sobbed.

Hebert said White didn’t fall and he didn’t know where he had shot him. He said he walked over and picked up the chief’s wallet and when he saw his gun, he picked that up too.

&uot;The reason I picked up the wallet, as stupid as it is, was I thought people won’t know who this man is,&uot; Hebert said. &uot;I left the parking lot; another stupid mistake I made. I should have stayed with him and called for help, but I didn’t.&uot;

Hebert said he was sorry for what he had done.

&uot;I have great remorse for what I’ve done,&uot; he said. &uot;I’m sorry. My heart aches sincerely.

&uot;I’m ashamed of what I have done,&uot; he continued. &uot;Not only was he a police chief, but he was an ex-Navy man as myself. We wore the same uniform. I never meant to kill Joe White. I took a human life. Something I thought I would never do in my lifetime.

&uot;I asked God for forgiveness and He has,&uot; he closed. &uot;I’ve asked the White family to please forgive me.&uot;

Following his statement, Hebert was sentenced to life without parole for murder and 64 to 86 months to run consecutively for the weapon charge.