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Covington man evades charge his punch led to Oxford resident's death
But he pleads guilty to assaulting two men based on faulty assumptions in Newton, Walton
Judge Horace J. Johnson Jr. Judicial Center
The Judge Horace J. Johnson Jr. Judicial Center - photo by Courtesy of Newton County

COVINGTON, Ga. — A Covington man saw manslaughter charges dropped Wednesday after the state could not prove a beating he inflicted directly led to his victim’s August 2020 death.

However, he also pleaded guilty in Newton County Superior Court to charges he violently attacked two men in separate incidents within days of each other in Newton and Walton counties.

William Russell White, 30, of Covington pleaded guilty to charges of Aggravated Battery and Cruelty to Children in the Third Degree for striking an Oxford man, and Exploitation or Intimidation of an Elderly Person for punching a man in Monroe, both in August 2020.

In both cases, White punched men after accusing them of actions they had not taken, said Chief Assistant District Attorney Amber Dally. 

The negotiated plea agreement Wednesday, June 30, in Superior Court in Covington also required White to undergo mental health and substance abuse treatment, receive anger management training, and pay restitution to the victim, Dally said.

In the Walton County case, White was charged with striking a 66-year-old shopper and breaking his dentures at a Walmart in Monroe.

White had wrongly assumed the victim touched White’s 5-year-old daughter, Dally said. Officers reportedly needed a Taser to subdue White before his arrest.

In the Newton County case, White was accused of breaking the nose of Terry Hall, 54, at an Oxford residence. 

Hall later died and White was charged with Involuntary Manslaughter and other crimes related to the incident.

Testimony during a bond hearing March 31 showed that White was in a relationship and had two children with the daughter of one of the occupants of the residence on Edwards Road where Hall lived. 

While visiting the residence on Aug. 22, 2020, White wrongly suspected Hall and the mother of his children were in a relationship, and his punch to Hall’s face that day broke his nose, Dally said.

After the assault, Hall suffered a cardiac arrest and died, the prosecutor said.

White’s attorney, Jared Sliz, said in the March 31 hearing he believed powerful drugs like methamphetamine found in the victim’s bloodstream likely led to Hall’s death.

Prosecutors on Wednesday, June 30, dropped the Involuntary Manslaughter charge after toxicology results from the victim indicated it was difficult to distinguish the exact cause of death, Dally said. 

As a result, prosecutors could not prove the altercation alone resulted in a heart attack from which the victim died, Dally said.

But as part of a negotiated plea, Hall told the judge he was guilty of Aggravated Battery and Cruelty to Children after evidence in the case showed the charges were justified, Dally said.

Judge Ken Wynne sentenced White to 20 years, with three years in confinement and the remainder on probation.

Manslaughter suspect
William Russell White - photo by Special to The Covington News