Pastor Charged in Murder, Asked Congregation to Pray for Victim's Return

Michigan pastor John D. White confessed to the brutal killing of 24-year-old Rebekah Gay, the daughter of his fiancée. As it turned out, White had a criminal record that included manslaughter and has now been charged with first-degree murder.

Gay disappeared earlier this week, leading to an intense search for the young mother and a prayer chain initiated by White at the local Christ Community Fellowship church. White was taken into custody by police and confessed to the gruesome crime.

According to the Associated Press, White told officials he bludgeoned Gay repeatedly in the head, and then strangled her with a zip tie. It was all part of a sexual fantasy White had, though he said he did not remember if he actually had intercourse with Gay's body.

After killing Gay, White hid her body in the woods and then got her son ready for trick-or-treating. The little boy's father then picked him up, but he has not said anything about Gay's disappearance or brutal murder.

White already had a criminal record when he became pastor at the church. He served 12 years for manslaughter after killing a 26-year-old woman. White was released from prison in 2007 after serving his time. Even before that, though, White had been sentenced to probation for choking and stabbing a 17-year-old girl in 1981.

Donna Houghton, a member of the church, said she knew of his past when he was hired three years ago.

"He was absolutely contrite. All kinds of people turn around and meet the Lord and they are a different person. He was doing a lot of good in the community. He was doing good and Satan did not want him doing good, and Satan got to him," she told the Associated Press.

Many members of the public think it's naïve to hire a convicted felon as a pastor, especially given the severity of White's crimes. But, as Houghton said when she found out about White's arrest, she and other members were "absolutely floored."