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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Jealousy - Love triangle
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: October 4, 2000
Date of arrest: 7 days after
Date of birth: January 6, 1966
Victim profile: Leslie Rae White, 18
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on November 6, 2001. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned Markman's conviction in February 2007. Pleads guilty on October 12, 2010. Sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania


Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Beth Ann Markman

opinion dissenting opinion

West Pennsboro woman pleads guilty to 2000 murder

By Becca Gregg -

October 13, 2010

Ten years to the month after Leslie White was murdered, her parents faced their daughter's killer in Cumberland County Court Tuesday for what they hope is the final chapter in a decade of pain and struggle.

Clad in red prison garb with her hair in cornrows, White's killer, Beth Ann Markman, could be heard crying as First Assistant District Attorney Jamie Keating read the facts of the case against her.

Represented by Public Defender Linda Hollinger, Markman stood before Judge Edward Guido Tuesday to enter guilty pleas to charges of criminal homicide and kidnapping stemming from the October 2000 murder of White.

For her plea, Markman was sentenced by Guido to mandatory life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Her words muffled by sobbing, the now-44-year-old Markman apologized to White's parents as they looked on from across the courtroom.

"I'm so sorry," she said. "I just hope that by me doing this today... it starts to give them some small sense of closure."

Jealous plot

Markman's plea comes nine years after her original trial, in which a Cumberland County jury found both her and then-boyfriend William Howard Houseman guilty of first-degree murder, and they were sentenced to death.

White, of East Waterford, had been an 18-year-old photojournalism student at Harrisburg Area Community College at the time of her death. She and Houseman had met and began a relationship while working at the Mechanicsburg Walmart in August 2000.

Upon learning that Housman had reunited with Markman, though, White broke off their relationship.

According to trial testimony, Markman helped hatch a plot out of jealousy that began with Housman luring White to the mobile home he shared with Markman in the 100 block of Big Spring Terrace, West Pennsboro Township, with a lie about his father's death.

Prosecutors say that when White arrived to comfort Housman, Markman tied the teen's wrists and ankles with speaker wire, shoved a piece of red cloth into her mouth and gagged her. Then Housman strangled White to death with a piece of speaker wire.

The couple drove White's body to Virginia in White's Jeep Grand Cherokee and dumped it in an abandoned Dodge vehicle on property owned by Housman's mother, according to trial testimony.

The body was found after a tenant farmer notified police about a suspicious vehicle on the property.

In February 2007, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned Markman's conviction on the charges of murder, kidnapping and unlawful restraint and ordered her a new trial in the case.

The court agreed with Markman's claim the Cumberland County trial court should not have allowed the jury to hear an edited audiotape of a confession by Housman that implicated her in the murder.

Two years later, the same court upheld the conviction and death penalty sentence for Houseman.


Following Markman's comments Tuesday, Leslie White's parents, George and Shawnee White, addressed both Markman and Judge Guido.

"As to what (Beth Markman) has done to our family ... " Shawnee White told the court. "The last 10 years have literally been hell. The last four years of appeals ... we haven't taken a vacation in 10 years because (there was always a new court date to attend). I want her to know what Leslie went through, and what my family went through."

Referring to Markman's sentence, George White expressed his frustration at the death penalty being taken off the table.

"I don't feel that this is justice," he said. "If it was your daughter or son that was strangled in the way my daughter was ..."

In response, Guido replied: "I have daughters. I can't pretend to know your loss."

However, he explained, it was his job to abide by the law, and life imprisonment was mandated by the law.

"Beth Markman is going to go to a jail that has air conditioning, that has heat. She'll have clean sheets every night and food on the table. She has no care in the world," George White said. "I don't feel that's justice at all. The first ruling of the death penalty was just. Not that she would die any time soon, but just so she doesn't know what day she's going to die."

Following Markman's sentencing to life in prison, Shawnee White offered one parting wish for her daughter's killer.

"While she's sitting there watching cable TV in her jail cell, I want Beth Markman to know that every time she sees a McDonald's commercial, she'll never go through a drive-thru again. Every time she sees an ocean scene, I want her to know that she'll never smell the ocean or feel the sand again. And if her daughter ever gives her a grandchild, I want her to know that she'll never rock them to sleep."


Pa. Supreme Court orders new trial for woman who murdered student

Associated Press

February 23, 2007

HARRISBURG, Pa.-The state Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for a woman who was sentenced to death along with her boyfriend for plotting the death of his ex-girlfriend and luring her to his trailer to strangle her.

The court's 4-1 decision on Wednesday overturned the conviction of Beth Ann Markman, 41, on charges of murder, kidnapping and unlawful restraint in the October 2000 death of Leslie Rae White.

The court said, among other things, that it agree with Markman's claim that the Cumberland County trial court should not have allowed the jury to hear an edited audiotape of a confession by the boyfriend, William Housman, 31, implicating her in the murder.

Housman did not testify during the trial, denying Markman the opportunity to confront him in court, said William Haught, the lawyer who represented her at the time.

"I'm pleased with the fact that the conviction has gone away and she's going to be taken off death row," Haught said.

In his dissenting opinion, Justice J. Michael Eakin wrote that admission of Housman's confession "was harmless in light of the overwhelming properly admitted evidence establishing appellants guilt."

Housman began dating White, 18, a photojournalism student at Harrisburg Area Community College, after they met at the Mechanicsburg Wal-Martw here they both worked in August 2000. White broke off the relationship when she learned that Housman had reunited with Markman, prosecutors said.

Authorities said Markman helped hatch a plot out of jealousy that began with Housman luring White to his Newville trailer on Oct. 4, 2000, by telling her that his father had died. Prosecutors say the couple gagged and strangled White after she went to comfort Housman that day, then drove her body to Virginia where they hid it in an abandoned car.

Housman and Markman were sentenced in 2001 to die by lethal injection. The Supreme Court upheld Markman's conviction on other charges of theft, abuse of a corpse, and criminal conspiracy.


The facts

Shortly after graduating from high school, Leslie White, the victim, met William Housman when she began working at the Wal-Mart photo shop in Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County. They began a romantic relationship; however, Housman was already involved in a romantic relationship with co-defendant Beth Ann Markman, and had been living with her for nearly two years.

Markman discovered e-mails between White and Housman, revealing their affair. Markman told Housman to end his relationship with White, and told several friends and co-workers she intended to “ ‘kick [White's] ass.’ “ Markman's co-workers noticed bruising around her eyes and neck, which she attributed to fights with Housman over the e-mails. On one occasion, Markman called Wal-Mart to speak with White, which left White scared and crying. Markman also visited the store once, looking for White, but left without incident. Markman told a friend “if she ever got her hands on [White], she was going to kill her.”  She told her probation officer, Nicole Gutshall, she caught Housman cheating on her, and if she caught him cheating again, she would kill the girl.

Housman did not terminate his relationship with White. Housman and Markman made plans to move to Virginia for a fresh start. However, Markman became suspicious that Housman had not ended his relationship with White. Markman drove Housman in her car to a local Sheetz store, where Housman used a pay phone to call White at Wal-Mart. He falsely told White his father died, and asked her to come to console him. He told her Markman was out of town. Various Wal-Mart employees testified White received this call from Housman, and she told her co-workers Housman's father died and she was leaving work early to console him.

When White arrived at the trailer where Housman and Markman lived, Housman talked with her in the living room, while Markman hid in the bedroom until, according to her subsequent confession and trial testimony, she heard a thump and White cried out because Housman hit her hand with a hammer. Then Housman and Markman subdued White and tied her hands and feet with speaker wire, shoved a large piece of red cloth in her mouth, and used another piece of cloth to tie a tight gag around her mouth. With White bound, Markman and Housman stepped outside to smoke cigarettes and discuss their next move. Upon reentering the trailer, Markman held White down while Housman strangled her with speaker wire and the crook of his arm, killing her. During the struggle, White scratched Markman's neck. White died of asphyxiation caused by strangulation and the rag stuffed into her mouth.

After White died, Markman wrapped White's body in a tent and placed it in the back of White's Jeep. The couple then fled to Virginia. Markman drove her car and Housman drove White's Jeep-carrying White's body. In Virginia, they drove to a remote piece of land owned by Housman's mother, then placed White's body in the trunk of an abandoned car. They discarded White's personal effects, except for her camera, which they intended to sell.

Housman and Markman remained in Virginia for several days, staying with friends and Housman's father. Housman continued to drive White's Jeep, which he held out as his own. While staying with Larry Overstreet and Kimberly Stultz, Markman corroborated Housman's story that they bought the Jeep from Markman's friend in Pennsylvania. At the Overstreet residence, Markman retrieved White's camera from the Jeep and they all took pictures of each other-Markman stated she bought the camera from the same woman who sold them the Jeep. Overstreet and Stultz recalled seeing scratches on Markman's neck, which Markman explained were from a dog. Stultz gave Markman the phone number of a pawn shop, and the shop owner testified he gave Markman $90 and a pawn ticket for the camera. Markman asked Stultz for cleaning supplies because “the Jeep smelled bad, like somebody had a dead animal in [it].” Markman also told Stultz that Housman had been seeing another woman, and if she ever met this other woman, she would “whoop her ass.” Another friend, Nina Jo Fields, testified that during the couple's visit to her home, Markman told her Housman had been cheating on her, but that she “[didn't] have to worry about the damn bitch anymore, [because she] took care of it.”

After White's parents filed a missing persons report, the authorities tracked her Jeep to Housman's location in Virginia. Deputy Brian Vaughan of the Franklin County Sheriff's office in Virginia went to the house to question Housman and Markman about the Jeep and White's whereabouts. When he saw the Jeep in the driveway, he ran the license plate number, which traced back to the Toyota Leasing Corporation.

Markman and Housman came to the door to greet Deputy Vaughan. Deputy Vaughan questioned them separately in his patrol car about the Jeep. Housman, who was questioned first, told Deputy Vaughan he called White to ask her to console him about his dog, which had just died. Housman said White never arrived at the trailer, and he subsequently left with Markman for Virginia. He claimed a friend loaned him the Jeep.

Subsequently, Markman voluntarily entered the patrol car and explained to Deputy Vaughan she had only seen White once, but had had several phone conversations with her. She denied knowledge of White's whereabouts, but indicated White had a bad relationship with her parents, suggesting she had run away. Markman denied knowing how Housman acquired the Jeep, and admitted driving separate cars to Virginia. When Deputy Vaughan asked Markman if she was afraid of Housman, she said she was not; rather, she admitted she had a violent temper, and Housman often had to restrain her from attacking him. She said she provoked Housman in the past and had thrown things at him, but Housman never assaulted or threatened her.

Following the police visit, Housman and Markman drove back to the property where they left White's body; there they abandoned the Jeep. Despite the couple's efforts to conceal the evidence, the police soon discovered the Jeep, as well as White's partially-decomposed body in the trunk of the abandoned car-the body was still bound, gagged, and wrapped in the canvas tent. Housman's fingerprints were found on the car's trunk lid and license plate, a compact disc recovered from the Jeep, the Jeep's hatch, and other evidence recovered from the scene. Markman's fingerprints were found on a potato chip bag retrieved from the Jeep, and the Jeep's passenger door and rear hatch. Subsequent analysis revealed Markman's DNA under White's fingernails.

The Pennsylvania State Police obtained a search warrant for Markman's trailer and executed it; they found blood on a pillow and urine on the carpet in the place White was likely strangled. Police also discovered two lengths of speaker wire, red fibers on the floor, a piece of red cloth, a steak knife, red fibers on the knife, a tent storage bag, a hammer, and a stethoscope. Police arrested Housman and Markman on October 11, 2000, exactly one week after the murder. Police retrieved White's camera from the pawn shop and developed the film. The pictures taken at the Overstreet residence were admitted into evidence at trial; in one photograph-taken just days after Housman and Markman strangled White to death-Markman is laughing while Housman pretends to strangle her.

Following their arrest, and after receiving Miranda warnings, Markman and Housman waived their rights and agreed to be interviewed, providing tape-recorded statements. Each independently confessed to participating in White's murder. Housman admitted to killing White by strangling her, but claimed Markman instigated the murder to eliminate the source of one of their relationship problems and enable them to start their relationship anew. He maintained Markman directed him to tie White up and strangle her, and Markman forced compliance by hitting him with a hammer and then spinning the hammer in a threatening manner. After White died, Markman listened with a stethoscope to verify her death before wrapping the body in the tent.

In her police statement, Markman admitted she bound and gagged White and held her down while Housman strangled her. She insisted, however, Housman devised the plan to murder White in order to steal her Jeep, and he coerced her assistance by threatening to kill her with a hunting knife if she did not obey him. Markman also asserted Housman wore down her resistance by terrorizing her the night before the murder by holding a knife to her throat and forcing her to remain naked in the trailer. Markman said she only realized White was dead when White lost control of her bladder.


Beth Ann Markman


The victim

Leslie Rae White, 18.



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