White indicted - Michael Donivan White

Michael Donivan White in a Nov. 2021 Southwest Virginia Regional Jail Authority booking photo. Donivan was indicted Nov. 22 by a Wise County special grand jury on two murder counts and 11 other drug, firearm and disorderly conduct charges in connection with the Nov. 13 shooting death of Big Stone Gap Police Officer Michael D. Chandler.

WISE — “I understand that, bro, but there ain’t much more you can do to me.”

With that statement, Michael Donivan White ended his arraignment Tuesday on charges in connection to the shooting death of Big Stone Gap Police Officer Michael D. Chandler.

White, 33, appeared via video from the Abingdon Regional Jail before Wise County Circuit Court Judge Ron Elkins. During the 10-minute arraignment, White at various times slouched in his chair, yawned and leaned forward.

As Elkins said White was present for arraignment on probation violations and a new indictment handed down Monday by a county special grand jury, White said, “Ain’t nobody worried about probation violations.”

Virginia State Police investigators claim that White, who has been in Virginia custody since Nov. 15, was at a vacant Orr Street house when Chandler arrived at about 4 a.m. on Nov. 13 to do a welfare check on a woman. That check preceded a meeting between Chandler and another man in Big Stone Gap who had called 911 about the woman.

White requested a court-appointed attorney before Elkins read the probation violation charges for grand larceny and fraud charges White had pleaded guilty to in August. As Elkins read the aggravated murder and felony murder charges from Monday’s 13-count indictment, White smiled.

White then leaned forward before yawning and shaking his head as Elkins read the remaining drug, firearm and disorderly conduct charges against him. Elkins then asked questions regarding his eligibility for court-appointed counsel, drawing answers of “yep” and “nope” from White.

Elkins asked White to clarify his answers for the court record, at one point saying, “I don’t know what yep means.”

“Yes,” White replied, also calling Elkins “bro” twice during the hearing.

The aggravated murder charge carries a mandatory life sentence on conviction and the felony murder charge carries a term of five to 40 years.

Capital punishment was abolished by the General Assembly earlier this year.

White said he had been “laying pipe” and earning about $200 per month against $486 per week in child support for five dependents before the Nov. 13 incident.

White also gave his address as 1225 Orr St., yards from the vacant home where investigators say he allegedly shot Chandler before leaving him lying in a ditch.

Elkins appointed Gregory J. Baker as White’s counsel, and White requested a motion for a speedy trial and for a change of venue. Elkins said he noted the speedy trial request in the arraignment record, telling White that the hearing was not the appropriate time to request a change of venue.

After setting April 11-15, 2022, as the trial date on all charges, Elkins cautioned White about his behavior.

“I know that you have an attitude, and that won’t serve you well,” Elkins said before White called him bro again and said he understood.

White was arrested on Nov. 13 in a Kingsport motel an hour after Chandler’s death and after a 16-hour manhunt by Wise County deputies, the Virginia State Police, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Kingsport Police Department.

The VSP is continuing its investigation into the shooting, and anyone with information related to this incident is asked to call (276) 228-3131 or email at questions@vsp.virginia.gov.

Recommended Videos