STANARDSVILLE -- Greene County Commonwealth's Attorney Ronald L. Morris dropped a capital murder charge against Taybronne Altereik White on Friday morning in the county's circuit court.
Morris decided to stop prosecuting the charge after receiving the results of White's recently completed court-appointed mental evaluation.
"Because of the conclusion of the reports, the court could not impose the penalty of death on the defendant," the new motion reads.
As a result of the report, defense attorney Edward J. Ungvarsky asked the court to provide funds for a mental retardation expert to work with the defense. He said the expert could be called as a witness during the sentencing phase of the trial should White be convicted.
White, 27, pleaded not guilty to a total of 11 charges, including three first-degree murder charges.
"Because there's so many charges, I'm going to let Mr. White remain seated," Judge Daniel R. Bouton said. Usually, the accused is asked to stand while the indictments are read.
When the court clerk asked White his plea to each charge, he responded "not guilty, ma'am" 11 times. In addition to the murder charges, White was arraigned on four counts of using a firearm during the commission of a crime, armed burglary of a residence, robbery of a residence, malicious wounding and being a nonviolent felon in possession of a gun.
Authorities allege White is responsible for the May 3, 2011, shooting deaths of Charlottesville residents Brian Robert Daniels, 26, Dustin Tyler Knighton, 25, and Lisa Hwang, 26.
Greene sheriff’s officials were investigating a home invasion on Ford Avenue early that morning when they received a report of bodies found on Octonia Road, less than a mile away. When they arrived on the scene, authorities found the bodies of Daniels, Knighton and Hwang.
Bouton granted defense motions requesting funding for a fingerprint expert and a firearms expert to help build the defense's case.
Ungvarsky said it is not clear whether two or three guns were used in the crime.
"Frankly, its a very confusing scenario," he told the judge. Ungvarsky said an expert could help determine which gun killed which person. He says the information could help determine whether the shootings were premeditated.
White asked to be tried by a jury. The trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 24, and attorneys say they expect it last three weeks.
"At this point, the matter has incubated long enough," Morris said.
Attorneys will meet again May 7 to argue any additional motions and to start planning the trial.
White is being held without bond at the Central Virginia Regional Jail in Orange.