News 4 Investigates: Central West End attack leads to courtroom disturbance

Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 7:15 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- A disturbing Central West End attack led to a courtroom disturbance Monday, and it’s all raising questions about what’s going on in St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office.

The sister of a woman attacked outside a Central West End grocery store said she was scared for her and her sister’s safety after the February 23 incident. The man who allegedly attacked her is a convicted murderer out on parole.

No cameras were allowed inside the courtroom Monday. Scott Sherman, the lawyer of the attacked woman, wanted to let prosecutors know how to contact her. He walked up to the prosecutor and held out his business card, and the prosecutor knocked the card out of his hand. That’s when a sheriff’s deputy had to say “cut it out.”

“She’s scared to death,” Sheila, the victim’s sister, said. “We don’t want this animal back on the streets.”

Sheila asked News 4 not to use her last name because of safety concerns. Police records say John White Jr., 59, tried to break into Sheila’s sister’s car. When she called 911, White lunged for her, body slammed her, kicked and punched her, and put his foot on her neck, the records say. White is currently being held in jail without bond.

Recent reporting by News 4 Investigates exposed how Sheila’s sister claims prosecutors kept her in the dark. Her lawyer Sherman took those concerns to the judge.

“This is one of the most heinous acts against an innocent elderly person at broad daylight and in one of the safest neighborhoods in this city,” Sherman said, “and if we can’t get the circuit attorney to help us bring these people to justice, it doesn’t say very much for that office.”

White currently faces the lowest charge for assault. Sherman said he believes prosecutors need to consider that his client has a concussion and herniated disc. The St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office denied doing an interview with News 4, citing a pending case. A spokesperson said the office has contacted the victim multiple times.

Sheila said she wants her sister to have a voice.

“We want our communities to be safe,” she said. “Our families, our children. And we don’t feel safe.”

White was on parole for a 1999 St. Louis County murder case. News 4 has requested records from the Missouri Department of Corrections but has yet to receive a response.