Nearly a decade ago, Hassan White went on a killing spree, plunging a knife into his girlfriend's neck inside her South Beach condo, then taking photos of the dead body. Next, he waited for her mother to come home, also stabbing her in the neck.
He walked into a police station — and as he did later at trial — claimed that voices in his head commanded him to perform the murders.
But a Miami-Dade judge on Friday rejected his defense of insanity, convicting White of murdering Gisselle Vinas and her mother, Michelle Vinas, in August 2009.
"This was about rage, not insanity," prosecutor Alicia Priovolos wrote in closing arguments. "We explained that the evidence would show the defendant's ungovernable temper caused him to commit these horrific acts."
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Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Diane Ward will sentence White on May 25. He faces an automatic life prison sentence for the murder of Michelle Vinas.
White had moved to South Florida from New Jersey, briefly living in a homeless shelter before living with a man he met at the facility. Around that time, White also became involved with Gisselle Vinas.
He later claimed that voices in his head were directing him to "kill, kill, kill" the man, Anthony Gibney, after he kicked him out. White spent the afternoon of Aug. 20, 2009, hanging out with Gisselle, who blew off his wishes to go find Gibney.
Angry, White retrieved a large knife from the kitchen and stabbed her in the neck as she had her back turned to him, "continuing to stab her throughout her body to ensure she died," prosecutors said.
White left the home, then returned and waited for Michelle Vinas to come home, hiding the knife behind his back while they talked before he attacked her, too. At the police station, White claimed that he had been hearing voices in his head since he was 15 years old and that he had no memory of murdering the women.
"I think it's the devil doing it to me," he told police.
After years of legal wrangling, White decided to forgo a jury trial and take his chances convincing Judge Ward.
Defense experts said that White suffered from "dissociative disorder" — and his lawyers argued he he did not know right from wrong when he murdered the two women. But at trial, prosecutors Priovolos and Scott Dunn showed his actions were calculated.
"He killed one, and waited for the other to show up," Priovolos wrote. "He ate a peach. He walked down the street. And, finally, he contrived this story of voices and shared them with police. There is no explanation. Hassan White is guilty as charged."