The 23-year-old was in custody on charges of threatening police in Contra Costa County two years ago. Bail was set at $120,000. But a judge lowered it to $5,000, saying he thought those and other charges pending against him would keep him from committing any other crimes. The judge said he might be mistaken, but hoped not.
The San Francisco district attorney thinks the judge was mistaken. White was back in court Wednesday, charged in the murders of 35-year-old Khin Min and 51-year-old Lina Lim. San Francisco police say he used a gun and a knife to kill them at the JewelryMart on July 12.
Lim's family watched the proceedings Wednesday. They said she was the mother of a teenage girl and was the heart and soul of her family.
"I want my sister back," Lim's sister cried during an emotional gathering on the steps of the Hall of Justice where Lim's extended family mourned her murder.
"Why they kill her like that? He's still living. What we going to do? He had no right to kill her," said Lim's uncle Jim Chiu.
White had two Contra Costa County cases pending against him when his bail was reduced in 2011. Both cases involved threatening police officers. In one he was accused of trying to run them over in a car.
San Francisco police say White killed the women and critically injured 50-year-old Vic Hung, the owner of the Victoga jewelry store, in a dispute over the price of an item.
When police confronted the suspect outside the JewelryMart he ducked into a taqueria and shot at them, until he ran out of ammunition and surrendered.
An AK-47 was later found in his car parked in front of the JewelryMart.
On Wednesday, the suspect Barry White Jr. was in court, shackled at his hands and feet. Police say the 23-year-old Antioch man used a gun and a knife to commit the brutal double murder. According to investigators, he had a beef over the price of a piece of jewelry.
His family and friends were in the courtroom, but declined to speak. White's public defender believes his client may have mental issues. "I have not looked at the police report. I haven't seen any videos, but from what I know, it seems to me the young man had a serious mental breakdown July 12th," Steven Gayle said.
And, the public defender is filing a motion against District Attorney George Gascon saying it was inappropriate for him to make pre-trial remarks like saying this was one of the most brutal homicides he's seen. Gascon's office says the district attorney is well aware of his ethical responsibilities.
White is now being held without bail.