On October 30th 1985 Dan White was found dead in the garage of his family home in San Francisco. A rubber tube leading from his car’s exhaust indicated that he had committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning.
White is, of course, notorious for his double murder of out-gay politician Harvey Milk and San Francisco mayor George Moscone in 1978. Despite having sneaked into City Hall through a side window to avoid metal detectors at the main entrance, White was convicted only for the crime of voluntary manslaughter: his defence had argued that he had diminished responsibility because he had a high dependency on junk foods. In consequence he served a sentence of only five years, one month and nine days for the murder of two men.
He never expressed remorse for the killings and yet his lawyer, Douglas R. Schmidt, chose to describe White as “the third victim”. Schmidt also argued that White’s suicide vindicated the original so-called “Twinkie defence” by demonstrating just how unstable White was.
White wrote a number of notes immediately prior to his death, one of which ‘apologised for all the trouble his death would cause.’ None of the notes referred to his slaying of Milk or Moscone.