Sam Poss’ convicted killer in court for sentencing hearing

PERRY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The first day of the sentencing hearing for the man convicted of killing a Perry teenager in 2016, wrapped up at the Houston County Superior Court Thursday morning.

Judge Edward Lukemire will determine if Dakota White will spend life in prison with parole or without.

In May, White, was found guilty on all 6 counts relating to the murder of Sam Poss. Those counts include malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault (choking) aggravated assault (knives), concealing death, and tampering with evidence.

Because White was 17 years old at the time of the murder, his sentencing was postponed. Brandon Warren, an accomplice, was found guilty for his role in Poss’ murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Warren was 18 years old at the time of the murder.

Both state and defense attorneys will share their arguments with the judge, so he can determine if White will spend the rest of his life in prison with the possibility of getting out one day.

Poss’ father, Christian Poss, and his mother, Nicole Poss, both took the witness stand, asking Judge Lukemire to sentence White to life in prison without parole.

“As long as my son Sam is gone from the world, keep them (Warren and White) away from the good and decent people of the world,” said Christian. “Let them return to society when my son Sam return to his family, because every day they run free, while Sam remains dead will be an injustice to him, our family and everyone Same loved.”

Christian also read a letter from Poss’ grandparents, James and Judy Poss. In the letter they stated that Sam’s death has taken a toll on their health and also asked the judge to sentence White to life without parole.

Also called to the stand, was Dakota’s ex-girlfriend, LaMia Glover. Glover and Dakota remained friends after Dakota was arrested. The state played a recorded phone conversation in which Dakota tells Glover, “This is the greatest hotel I’ve ever stayed at. I’ve stayed at a lot of hotels.”

Defense attorney, Angie Coggins, brought Diana White and her husband, Jonathan White to the stand Diana, who is Dakota’s aunt, stated she first took Dakota in when he was about 4 years old. She says child services took Dakota away from his mother, Becky, because of her ‘drug problem’. Dakota would then go back and forth, between living with his mom and living with his Aunt Diana. While on the stand, Diana revealed Dakota was molested by his uncle, David Seal, when Dakota was 5 or 6 years old. It went on for about 4 years.

Dakota started hurting himself and would have suicidal thoughts when he was about 10 years old, according to Diana. He would bite himself or hit himself in the head.

Diana claims that Dakota was a sweet boy and became very close with her daughter, Lydia. He trusted Lydia and would go to her whenever he was going through a difficult time. When Lydia moved away, Dakota took it very hard and rebelled.

When Jonathan White, took the stand, he got very emotional and asked the Poss family for forgiveness, as well as Dakota. Jonathan says he felt guilt for what happened.

“I shouldn’t have dropped the ball. Now Sam is gone and Dakota’s gone and I can’t help the way I feel. I dropped the ball,” said Jonathan.

The defense also asked psychologist, Dr. Christopher Tillitski to take the witness stand.

Tillitski described Dakota as a “psychological train wreck.” He believes that if Dakota was given the proper help and if he had been talking to someone else other than Warren, all of this would have turned out differently.

The last witness called to the stand was Dakota. He read an apology letter to the Poss family stating, “I know that words can never convey the true sorrow of a senseless crime. In so many ways this could have been avoided and the best and only other words anyone could offer is ‘I’m sorry.’ Sorry doesn’t bring back Sam nor does it make anybody feel better. Yet, in almost two years the only thing I have ever wanted to say is I am sorry. At this point in time I see how pointless these words may seem to you. The only thing I can ask is that one day those words will mean something to you as they do me.”


Sam Poss, 18, went missing in October of 2016. Police found his body a short time after the search in the woods off Lake Joy Road. White and Warren were arrested the next day.

Both the state and defense will provide closing statements Friday morning.

Categories: Houston County, Local News

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