Opening Statements in the Trial of Dan White (May 1, 1979)
Source: The Trial of Dan White by Kenneth W. Salter (1991)


Your Honor, members of the jury, and you are the jury now, counsel for the defense: Ladies and gentlemen, I am Thomas F. Norman, and I am the Assistant District Attorney, and I appear here as trial representative of Joseph Freitas, Jr., District Attorney, seated next to me now.

Members of the jury, you have heard the information which is on file here read to you. I'm sure that you generally know what this case is about. The statements that I make at this particular time to you are, as his Honor indicated, not evidence. They are simply an outline briefly of what I expect that the evidence of this case is going to show, which will support these charges. George R. Moscone was the duly-elected Mayor of San Francisco. Harvey Milk was the duly elected Supervisor of District 5 of San Francisco.

The defendant in this case, Mr. Daniel James White, had been the duly-elected Supervisor of District 8 of San Francisco, until for personal reasons of his own, he tendered his resignation in writing to the Mayor on or about November the 10th, 1978, which was approximately 17 days before this tragedy occurred. Subsequent to tendering his resignation he had feelings that he wanted to withdraw that resignation, and that he wanted his job back. There being a vacancy on the Board of Supervisors, in District Number 8, the Mayor had the right to appoint a Supervisor to fill that particular vacancy. Numerous applications were made to Mayor George Moscone. George Moscone entertained these applications, considered them, which he had a right and duty to do. At one point it appears that George Moscone had a discussion or some discussions with Mr. Daniel White relative to Mr. White obtaining George Moscone's appointment to District Number 8, wherein he would, in other words, assume his job back, from which he had resigned on November the 10th. George Moscone, it appears, had told the accused that he would give him his job back or, in other words, appoint him back to the board if it appeared that there was substantial support in District Number 8 for that appointment.

Material was received by the Mayor in that regard, and in the meantime, Mr. Daniel James White, had resorted to the courts in an effort to withdraw his written resignation. It appears that those efforts were not met with much success. As it became close to November the 27th, which was a Monday, and on which day, at 11:30 o'clock a.m. the Mayor was scheduled to make a public announcement of his appointment to fill the supervisorship or supervisorial seat of District Number 8, it became a matter of somewhat common knowledge that the Mayor was not going to appoint Daniel White, but that he was, rather, going to appoint someone else.

Over that weekend, immediately preceding Monday, November 27th, and particularly it was either on Saturday or on Sunday, news had reached the press, particularly a radio reporter from station KCBS, whose name is Barbara Taylor, that the Mayor was, in fact, going to appoint somebody other than Daniel James White, and that he was going to make this announcement on Monday morning, November 27th, at 11:30 o'clock a.m. Barbara Taylor called the defendant at his home sometime between 10:00 and 11:00 o'clock p.m. on Sunday night, the 26th of November. She informed him that she had received certain information from a reliable source that Mr. Daniel James White was not going to be appointed, and she wanted to know if she could interview him on tape in that connection. Mr. White had nothing to say about this, and he hung up the telephone. The next morning Mr. White determined to pay a visit to George Moscone, the then Mayor of San Francisco, at his office.

Mr. White called his legislative assistant, Miss Apcar, asked her if she would pick him up, which she did. Mr. White, before leaving his home, armed himself with a .38 Smith and Wesson revolver, which is commonly called a Chiefs Special. It's a five-shot revolver with a two-inch barrel. The gun was loaded when he took it, put it in a holster, strapped it in his belt.

Now, this weapon, members of the jury, is a five-shot revolver. It has a cylinder in which there are five holes bored, or chambers, for five loaded cartridges. In addition to the gun being loaded, Mr. White took ten extra loaded cartridges, put them in his pocket before leaving his home with Miss Apcar, who was his aide, and who drove him to the City Hall. When he was driven to the City Hall, he got out of the vehicle, which Miss Apcar had driven him in, and he appeared, at the McAllister Street entrance to the City Hall.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, the City Hall has a basement, a main floor, a second floor, a third floor and fourth floor. He appeared at the basement level, and that door was locked at that time, for some security purposes. However, this was after 10:00 o'clock in the morning, before 11:00 o'clock in the morning, and it was Monday morning, of a usual, regular business day at City Hall. Instead of going around to the front door on Polk Street, or another main door on Van Ness Avenue, Mr. White remained outside the door at the basement level on the McAllister Street side for a few minutes, and then he entered the building through the window of an engineer's office.

Now, this is not a regular way to enter the building. After entering the building he went into a little laboratory room where his presence was observed by a member of the staff at City Hall. He identified himself, telling that person that he was Supervisor White, and then he just went on into the building.

He went up to the first floor and into the second floor. The Mayor's office is on the second floor, on the east side of City Hall. He presented himself near the main door. However, there was a young woman who worked for the Mayor's budget office, who was going up to get some mail. She was going to use her key to one of the private offices, or one of the private entrances, rather, to the Mayor's office.

Mr. White identified himself to this woman, asked if he could come in the way she was going in, and she said, "Well, yes;' she recognized him. He then presented himself at the desk of the woman whose name is Cyr Copertini. Cyr Copertini was the Mayor's appointment secretary for persons wanting to see the Mayor, and necessarily, in most instances, they had to see her.

Mr. White did not have an appointment at that time to see the Mayor; however, that was not necessarily an unusual circumstance because members of the Board of Supervisors occasionally would visit the Mayor unannounced. He appeared at Cyr Copertini's desk, which is in the Mayor's outer office, within the general complex of offices which were assigned to the Mayor. They had some small talk, and he said he wanted to see the Mayor, and the time was now just a couple of minutes to 11:00 o'clock in the morning.

The Mayor had some other appointments at 11:00 o'clock, which were otherwise scheduled. The mayor, close to 11:00 o'clock, notified Cyr Copertini that he would now see Mr. White. Cyr Copertini had announced Mr. White's presence to the Mayor. Mr. White went in to see the Mayor, went in to the Mayor's main office. There were some loud voices that were heard, and then they went into a back or private office, almost like a lounge.

They sat down. The Mayor poured Mr. White a drink, poured himself a drink, neither of which was ever consumed, through the intercession of other events which immediately followed. A discussion took place between the Mayor and between Mr. White. It appears that they had each been sitting down during the discussion. Mr. White drew out his .38 special revolver and he fired two shots into the Mayor's body. After the Mayor fell to the floor, disabled, then he discharged two more .38 special rounds into the Mayor's head, on the right side, about the area of the right ear, at very close range, which were not unlike coup de grace shots.

Mr. White then reloaded his pistol with some of the rounds that were in his pocket, and he left the Mayor's office, which was located down at the east end of the building, and entered the main hallway. There is a hallway that-there are numerous hallways in the City Hall, but there is a hallway generally between the Mayor's office and the chambers of the Board of Supervisors. The hallway runs from an easterly-westerly direction. There are two stairways which will permit yon to leave the building, either to go downstairs or to go upstairs.

He went down this hallway in a rather fast gait, as will be described to you, from the Mayor's office, in the east side of the building, to the chambers of the Board of Supervisors, which is located at Room 237, on the west side of the building. Now, Mr. White and Mr. Harvey Milk were each Supervisors from different districts. They were politically dissimilar to each other, having substantially different views, and it was felt by the defendant that Mr. Harvey Milk, a Supervisor of District 5, had acted somewhat- somehow taken some active part in trying to prevent the Mayor from appointing Mr. Daniel White back to his seat on the Board of Supervisors from which he had resigned approximately two-and-a half weeks or seventeen days previously. Mr. White traveled on foot at a rather rapid gait down the hallway which separated the Mayor's office from the chambers of the Board of Supervisors. He let himself in to Room 237, which is a large office containing a lot of smaller offices, where the various members of the Board of Supervisors have their private offices, and where their staff aides work in these offices with the Supervisors assisting them in legislative and governmental functions in the City and County of San Francisco ....

The gentlemen, that is, Mr. Harvey Milk, and the defendant, were acquainted with each other; both had been on the Board of Supervisors. The defendant put his head into Harvey Milk's office, where Mr. Milk was at that time sitting with his volunteer legislative aide, and he inquired of Harvey Milk, "Say, Harvey, can I see you a moment: and the reply from Harvey Milk was, "Well, sure."

The defendant then led the way across the hall to his-that is, Mr. Daniel White's then vacated office in the chambers of the Board of Supervisors. The two of them went into the office. The door was shut and Harvey Milk was heard to cry out or exclaim, "Oh, no," or words similar to that, which then was followed by a series of shots. Harvey Milk was shot three times in the body with that same .38 Smith and Wesson Chief Special revolver, five shot. He took three shots to the body and when he fell to the floor, he was shot twice in the back of the head.

The door opened to the office that Mr. Daniel White had occupied prior to his resignation on November 10th, on the Board of Supervisors. Mr. White stepped out. At one point he cried out to his legislative aide, Miss Apcar, "Give me the keys." He left the building of the City Hall, where he called his wife a short while later, and he surrendered himself within approximately an hour or so at the Northern Station of the San Francisco Police Department, and the Northern Station is located all in the same general vicinity, located at .841 Ellis Street, between Polk and Van Ness Avenue.

Members of the jury, that briefly is what I expect the evidence in this case will show, which I expect, at the conclusion of this case, will support the charges of murder in the first degree and the special circumstances which have been alleged here.

Thank you very much.


Good morning. Ladies and gentlemen, the prosecutor, Mr. Norman, has quite skillfully outlined certain of the facts that will come here during this trial, those facts that he believes will be supportive of his theory of first-degree murder. It's the usual purpose of an opening statement to outline those facts that will be presented at trial, so that as the testimony comes in, and various pieces of evidence come in, there will be some thread for the jurors to follow, as sometimes the evidence is somewhat disjointed and out of order.

As I said, Mr. Norman has outlined only some of the facts that I believe will be presented here, and I think for a proper understanding of what did happen on November 27th, it will be necessary for all of the facts, all the truth, to be presented here, and rather than putting out some of the facts that I believe will support some theory of the defense, I intend to present all the facts, including some of the background material that will show, not so much what happened on November 27th, but rather, why those tragedies occurred on November 27th.

I believe that it's important for two reasons: One, that the People of the City and County of San Francisco deserve to know all the facts; second, perhaps more importantly, for a clearer understanding of what did occur on November 27th. It's necessary that you, as jurors, in order to judge what happened on that date, know all the facts.

The evidence will show, and it's not disputed, that Dan White did, indeed, shoot and kill George Moscone, and I think the evidence is equally clear that Dan White did shoot and kill Harvey Milk. Those tragedies of November 27th, 1978, were supported by the evidence, and there is no question that did occur.

In fact, upon turning himself in at the Northern Police Station, as Mr. Norman indicated, Daniel White gave a statement to that effect. The trial, then, you might ask, why is it necessary to have a trial, and the answer to that simply is, as indicated previously, not so much as to what occurred on the 27th, but the facts as to why that occurred, and I think that when all the facts are out the charge of first degree murder simply will not be supported here, and it's simply not what happened.

The issue in this trial is properly to understand why that happened, and it will be necessary that we go back from November 27th, and it's very difficult to condense a man's life, a man of 33 years of age, which Daniel White is, in a few short weeks that we will spend here together, but I think it's necessary that we do that. Much of Dan White prior to November 27th is known to you through the press, through the news media, and it will certainly become known here.

He was a native of San Francisco. He went to school here, went through high school here. He was a noted athlete in high school. He was an army veteran who served in Vietnam, and was honorably discharged from the army. He became a policeman thereafter, and after a brief hiatus developed, again returned to the police force in San Francisco, and later transferred to the fire department. He was married in December of 1976, and he fathered the child in July 1978. Dan White was a good policeman and Dan White was a good fireman.

In filet, he was decorated for having saved a woman and her child in a very dangerous fire, but the complete picture of Dan White perhaps was not known until sometime after these tragedies on November 27th occurred.

Good people, fine people, with fine backgrounds, simply don't kill people in cold blood, it just doesn't happen, and obviously some part of them has not been presented thus far. The part that perhaps went unrecognized, and certainly went unrecognized until it was too late, was the fact that Daniel White was suffering from a mental illness. He had been suffering from a mental illness since the time of early manhood, and it's a disease like any other disease, perhaps not easily diagnosable as a broken leg or arm, but far more devastating to the person, and the disease that Daniel White was suffering from is called "depression," sometimes referred to as "manic depression," and sometimes simply as "depression." It's not a feeling that perhaps you and I have experienced wherein one is depressed over certain turns of events or disheartened by something that has happened, but this is a chemical change that occurs within the man's body, and it's diagnosable and substantiated as a disease.

The doctors, of course, will corroborate in great detail, and doctors will be called here to testify in regards to the symptoms of depression, and basically they entail radical changes to the diet, compulsive difficulty in sleeping, low energy, withdrawal from duties, withdrawal from job, and withdrawal from others, and sometimes bizarre behavior, and these depressive episodes occurred with some frequency in Daniel White's life, but went unrecognized, and as I have indicated, he was never treated for this disease, and there are several reasons why it went unrecognized. Most of those reasons have to do with his character and personality.

Dan White, as I think will be developed here, was the type of man that was not a complainer. He didn't complain about physical injuries, didn't complain about a disease he didn't know he had. He had an attitude that he developed through his life, perhaps because of his father, a man that he had admired the most in his life, that if you weren't succeeding, weren't coping as to some respect or aspect of your life, then you simply had to try harder, had to dig in and try a little harder to succeed, and then you would succeed.

I don't think Daniel White was particularly insightful as to what was his underlying problem. The evidence will show that the family recognized that there was something very wrong with Dan through his adult life. They noticed his episodes, when he became very depressed, withdrawn, infused to shave, stayed in bed for long hours, and they didn't see this as symptoms of the disease, mental disease, which are not easily ascertainable, but they saw it more as: That is Dan, that is his personality, he's moody, but this was something far greater than mood, by a chemical change that was occurring in the man.

There are going to be a number of people testifying in regard to Dan White's character in this trial, and like or dislike it, Dan White, I think is going to be supported by the evidence; that is, that Dan White was an idealistic young man, a working class young man. He was deeply endowed with and believed very strongly in the traditional American values, family and home. I think that he could be classified as almost rigidly moral, but above all that, he was an honest man, and he was fair, perhaps too fair for politics in San Francisco.

He trusted people. He believed people when they said something. He believed that a man's word, essentially, was his bond, and with respect to being fair, I'm going to jump ahead a bit and indicate that the evidence will show that Dan White came from a vastly different life style than Harvey Milk.

Harvey Milk was a homosexual leader and politician, and Dan White, though they were from vastly different life styles, sought to befriend Harvey Milk after being a member of the Board of Supervisors, and tried to be tolerant and protective of the issues that his constituency felt were important, and those issues were the traditional values of family and home.

He spent his entire life dedicated to serving people, serving the people of San Francisco. As I mentioned, he volunteered for the army, was a policeman, a fireman, and he was a good fireman and a good policeman, and basically his concern for people helped him to run for the Board of Supervisors. You have to understand at this point, and the evidence will show, that normally in a city-wide election, it is very difficult for a man of Dan White's background to be elected to any position, and when we have the change and went to the district supervisorial elections, that allowed a man of Dan White's background, a working class man, with no political prowess, with no connections, to be elected to the Board of Supervisors, and he worked very hard to be elected to the Board of Supervisors, and his tactic was simply to go into his district, knock on doors, introduce himself, explain what he believed in, and ask for votes, and that technique in District 8 was quite successful. District 8 is a working class district, made up of persons in blue collar working areas.

The irony is that the young man was so much promised in seek-difficulty coping with procedural aspects of legislation, some difficulty with understanding that in politics one does not always vote on one's conscience, rather one votes, on occasion, because it's expediently and politically sound, and it's a process of compromise, basically.

The situation on the Board of Supervisors continued to worsen, and as he went into the job he would have periodic depressed episodes of short duration.

Then, in the summer of 1978, he went into one of these depressive episodes which was triggered by the chemical change as to his underlying mental illness, and the symptoms of this disease were again sleeplessness, change of health, change of diet. Dan White had always been health conscious, and tried to keep himself physically well and in shape, but in turn the symptoms of sleeplessness and various changes that were going on and the stressful factors aggravated the underlying mental illness, and so it was a never ending and cyclical spiral of stress.

I believe all that stress and the underlying mental illness culminated in his resignation that he turned in on November the 10th, 1978. In that resignation, he cited financial difficulties would require that he give up his job, but that was a very thinly veiled excuse. That resignation actually said that Dan White, as Supervisor, simply was not coping with the job as a Supervisor because of all the stress applied to him both through the job, through politics in San Francisco, through his financial condition, and all his personal problems, together with the underlying mental illness, and he simply was not coping.

The impulsive nature of this resignation simply came in without consulting any aides or supporters or constituents, and he simply came in, drew up a letter of resignation, and turned it in to the Mayor on November the 10th. I think he was desperate at that time, and the evidence will show he was desperately trying to, but simply was not coping, and something was wrong with him.

Some days after November the 10th, pressure was brought to bear on Dan White from aides and others to go back to the job that he had worked so hard for, and there was a one-way course that those persons could appeal to Dan White, and that was to appeal to his sense of honor: Basically, Dan, you are letting the fire department down, letting the police department down. There was a settlement pending with the police officers' association which was important to the police department, and it was brought home to him.

He was basically the voice for the police department and the voice for the fire department, and he was the voice for all of those working people out in District 8. He was the voice for all his constituents, and the voice for the family, and for all the people and the workers in District 8, and the fact was that he gave up his job, and basically let down all those people that had helped him get elected. It worked - it worked, that type of pressure, because Dan White cannot resist that type of prodding, and he resorted to a law suit, and asked the Mayor before that time for his job back.

You may or may not recall, but upon asking for the job back, and this was about November the 18th, a week after the resignation, the Mayor said that though they were political opposites, certainly Dan White was a good man, and District 8 was well off with Dan White. He actually, physically, gave the letter of resignation back, saying in no uncertain terms, that as far as he was concerned, Mr. White, you are Supervisor for District 8. We have political differences, but you are basically a good man, and you worked for the job, and I'm not going to take you to fault.

The letter was returned to Dan White. In the alternative the Mayor said at that time that if, in fact, the resignation had that force and effect, and that there was any legal problem about it, he would simply reappoint Dan White. Thereafter, in several public statements, there were broadcasts to the news media, the people of the City and County of San Francisco, the response to giving back the appointed - giving back the job to Dan White changed a bit, and it became: Dan White, you will receive the job back but there has been some clamor against you in your district.

Accordingly, there will have to be some support shown for you, but we will indeed give the job back to you, and from that the public statement changed to: Dan White, there is a lot of sentiment against you. I believe there is no support in District 8, and unless you can show some broad base support, the job will not be given to you, and finally, within a few days of the 18th, the public statement coming from the Mayor's office were simply: that it's undecided. We have no commitment to you with regard to giving the job back, but you will be notified prior to the time that any decision is made.

During that whole period of time Dan White was at home. He had had the one meeting with the Mayor on November 18th, wherein he had asked for the job. It was evident from various public statements coming from the Mayor's office that there were political pressures brought to bear, and somewhere in part of that pressure was Harvey Milk.

He was against the reappointment of Dan White. Basically, it was a political decision. It was evident there was a liberal wing on the Board of Supervisors, and there was a smaller conservative wing, and Dan White was a conservative politician for San Francisco, and that it would not be political for the reappointment of Dan White, which would cut against it, and he was not the man to go along with the Mayor's office policies, and did not come from the Mayor's office on the Board of Supervisors.

By the 26th of November, Dan White, who was still in this depressive episode begun in late summer of that same year, was not sleeping at all. There were some critical factors that came to play. His wife Mary Anne had left on that weekend, the weekend immediately preceding the 17th, and didn't return until the late evening of the 26th. On the 26th, and for several nights before that time, he had only disturbed sleep, and on the 26th he slept not at all at night. At about 10: 30 on the evening of the 26th he did receive a telephone call from Barbara Taylor of KCBS, with the news that she had reliable sources of information, and those reliable sources were basically from Mel Wax, who told Barbara Taylor that Dan White would not be reappointed, and they didn't tell Dan White he wouldn't be reappointed, but they told Barbara Taylor, and she called Dan White on the evening of the 26th, at about 10:30, and said, "Mr. White ''not these words, but basically: You will not be reappointed. Can I have your reaction, and Dan White's reaction simply was, I don't know that to be true. I haven't been told that. The Mayor's office promised that I would be told. I don't know that.

He did hang up the phone.

Later that evening, he spent his time sitting on the couch, and basically not sleeping at all.

The following morning, early, he received a telephone call from Denise Apcar, his aide, former aide, while he was on the Board of Supervisors. Denise Apcar told Dan White that there were supporters at City Hall in an effort to show support to the Mayor's office, and in one day they had gathered 1100 signatures in District 8, and those signatures were on petitions that supported Dan White for reappointment. Denise told Dan that the Mayor had seen these supporters, was unwilling to accept the petitions, the 1100 signatures in support of Dan White.

Dan said that he didn't want to come down to City Hall on that morning, and as fate would simply take its course, after two more telephone calls to Dan White, he returned the call to Denise and said, fine, he would come down to City Hall if she could come down and pick him up, and the reason for that is that Dan White had only one car, and his wife had taken it to work. Denise agreed to do that, and on the ride back to City Hall, Dan White indicated to Denise he was going to go to City Hall simply to confront the Mayor as to whether or not he was going to be reappointed, because he hadn't actually heard officially at that late date, and he had no intention at that time to harm anyone, much less kill the Mayor or kill Harvey Milk.

As he went to the City Hall he took a .38 caliber revolver with him, and that was not particularly unusual for Dan White. Dan White was an ex-policeman, and as a policeman one is required to carry, off-duty, a gun, and as an ex-policeman-well, I think it's common practice, and evidence will be shown that guns are carried, and indeed with the City Hall officials the evidence will demonstrate that many officials in City Hall carry guns, including Mayor Dianne Feinstein, Peter Tamaras, John Barbagelata, and Al Nelder. And additionally, the background and the evidence will show that on November 27th there was a vastly different atmosphere, in addition to the usual threats to public officials from various groups, the White Panthers, New World Liberation Front, and other terrorist organizations, and there was the atmosphere created by the Jonestown People's Temple tragedy which had occurred a few days before November 27th, and at that time there were rumors that there were hit lists that had been placed on public officials, and that there were assassination squads that were going to murder people in San Francisco, and in hindsight, of course we can all realize that fact did not happen, but at the time there were 900 bodies laying in Guiana to indicate that, indeed, people were bent on murder, of course, as to the People's Temple, and I think it will be shown that that was tied more to the liberal elements of San Francisco politics and not so much as to the conservative elements.

As a consequence thereof, it would be important to understand that there were threats directed toward persons like Dan White and other members of the Board. Denise Apcar, after she had picked him up, drove him to City Hall, and he asked her to drive him to the main entrance on Polk

Street. Upon approaching the doors on Polk Street he observed a metal detection machine, and it's a violation of the law to carry a firearm without a permit, though that firearm may very well be registered to someone. Knowing that he did not know the man that was on the metal detection machine, he simply went around to the McAllister Street well, where he expected to meet his aide, Denise Apcar, who had gone to park the car in the well, where Supervisors are allowed to park.

Unknown to Dan, however, Denise had gone, from dropping him off at the front door, to get gasoline to put in her car, as Dan indicated he would like to borrow the car after talking to the Mayor, to go tell his wife how the interview had gone. Dan went to the McAllister Street well and did not find Denise Apcar there. He waited for several moments, but knowing that it was imminent the talk to the Mayor, he stepped through a window at the Department of Public Works, which doesn't require any physical prowess, and you can step through those windows, and the evidence will show also that it is not uncommon for people to enter and exit there. They are very large windows, and are large, wide sills, and it's quite easy to step into the building through those windows. Dan White did that, and the man on the inside of the Public Works Department, William Melia, asked him who he was, and Dan properly identified himself, saying he was Supervisor Dan White, going for an appointment with the Mayor.

I think it's significant at this point also because the fact that he crawled through the window appears to be important and it's significant to explain that all the supervisors have keys to the door in the McAllister Street well, and indeed, on the morning of the 27th, Denise had the key to the McAllister Street well door. Denise Apcar had driven Dan White down to City Hall. As he stepped through the window, identified himself, traveled up to the second floor, where he saw Mildred Tango, a woman going to collect mail, and in this woman's office, there are several doors into the Mayor's quarters, and he walked in behind Mrs. Tango, identified himself again as Dan White, and asked if he couldn't come in that way. She said he could, as that was appropriate for Supervisors, and Supervisors oftentimes went through the door other than the door through 200.

He then approached the desk of Cyr Copertini, the appointments secretary, and properly identified himself, and asked to see the Mayor. She went in to talk to the Mayor, and the Mayor indicated he didn't want to talk to Dan White, but if he could have a minute or two to think about it, he would talk to him.

After a few minutes, the Mayor summoned Dan White into the office. Mr. Norman pointed out that raised voices were heard, and it appeared to be a rather emotional confrontation. Moments thereafter, shots rang out in the Mayor's office, and Dan White, as it was quite apparent at that point, had cracked as to his underlying mental illness and stress factors due to the fact that he hadn't been notified, and the sudden emotional surge that he had in the Mayor's office was simply too much for him, and he cracked. He shot the Mayor, reloaded his gun, the five-shot revolver, and basically on instinct, because of his police training, and was about to leave the building at that point, and he looked down the hall, and as he came out into the outer corridor he saw somebody that he believed to be an aide to Harvey Milk.

He went down to the supervisors' area to talk to Harvey Milk. He entered the supervisors' area and asked Mr. Milk to step across the hall, and at that point, in the same state of rage, emotional upheaval, with the stress and mental illness having cracked this man, ninety seconds from the time he shot the Mayor, shot and killed Harvey Milk.

From there I think the evidence will demonstrate he ran down to the aide's office, screamed at his aide Denise Apcar to give him the key to her car. Again, this key was available to Dan White, if this had been a planned, premeditated, deliberate killing. Denise gave him that key, and he left, went to a church, called his wife, went in to St. Mary's Cathedral, prayed, and his wife got there, and he told her, the best he could, what he remembered as to what he had done, and then they walked together to the Northern Police Station, where he turned himself in and made a statement as to what best he could recall had occurred.

Given those facts, I believe that the theory of the people as to first degree simply is not supported.

The judge, at the conclusion of the evidence, will instruct you on the law that applies to those facts, basically, after you have had that instruction, and you apply the law to those facts, I believe you will agree that mental illness and stress and the emotion of that moment simply broke this man, and this was not a deliberate, premeditated killing.

Thank you.

The Dan White (Harvey Milk Murder) Trial