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A story to tell: Cape author lends narration

By Staff | Feb 9, 2013

The television show “Deadly Sins” will air an episode tonight that spotlights a real-life murder-for-hire plot, which a Cape Coral woman wrote a book on.

The newest episode, “Small Town Massacre,” will debut from 9-10 p.m. on the Investigation Discovery channel. The series “examines the true evils that push people beyond the limits of the law,” according to the show Web site.

Each episode features two 30-minute tales. The second half of “Small Town Massacre” will share the story of a woman who had her husband murdered.

In 2005, Cape resident Suzanne Barr wrote “Fatal Kiss” about the killing. When the e-book came out last summer, reader interest was rekindled.

“The sales really skyrocketed,” she said. “I was surprised, but then the other half of me wasn’t because crime stories are timeless.”

Barr’s publisher soon received a call from “Deadly Sins” about using the story for one of its episodes. After several telephone interviews, Barr flew to Kinston, N.C., in September – the exact location of the 1992 murder.

“I just kind of narrated the story,” she said. “They hire actors, and the actors do a re-enactment.”

“It was a fun experience,” Barr added. “I really enjoyed it.”

As the story goes, Billy White was reported missing in 1992 by his wife, Sylvia Ipock-White. His body was later found on a road in Jones County.

“He had been shot in the stomach with a shotgun,” Barr said.

When the local Crime Stoppers asked for the public’s help with the killing, a caller offered the names Ernest West Basden and James Lynwood Taylor.

It was discovered that for about a year, Ipock-White had been trying to get Taylor to kill her husband. She said White beat her, among other things.

Taylor eventually agreed, bringing Basden into the plan.

“They set up this elaborate plot,” Barr said.

An insurance agent, White agreed to meet with the men – because of information provided by his wife – for a possible business deal. When White met them at the location, they shot him and made it look like a robbery.

Prior to the meeting, White stopped by a local hotel where his wife was attending a cosmetics convention. There, Ipock-White kissed him goodbye.

Barr noted that is where she got the title, “Fatal Kiss,” for her book.

All three were arrested in connection to White’s murder.

Basden was sentenced to death for actually pulling the trigger and was eventually executed in 2002. Taylor was sentenced to 30 years.

Pleading to avoid the death penalty, Ipock-White received life in prison.

As a result of White’s murder, a death in the family years earlier that had been ruled accidental was re-examined in a new light. Twenty years prior, Ipock-White had brought her stepson, young Billy White, to the hospital ER.

Drycleaning plastic was removed from the dead 4-year-old’s throat.

“The stepmother said he swallowed it,” Barr said.

The body was exhumed and re-examined.

Authorities determined that the boy’s death was a homicide.

“She was charged with murder,” she said.

Ipock-White was found guilty and given to a second life sentence.

Barr pointed out that Ipock-White’s first husband died in 1967. While his death was ruled a suicide, some evidence in the case never added up.

“He was right-handed, but the gun was in his left hand,” she said.

“She got away with that,” she added. “She killed three people.”

According to Barr, Ipock-White was the image of the little church lady, the Sunday school teacher. Her dark side never came to light until White’s death.

“All this came out when the father was murdered,” she said.

It took Barr about a year to research the case and a couple of months to write the book. Kinston being a “small town,” there were residents who would step outside their storefronts to share stories and add to what Barr had.

Others threatened her, and she needed a police escort at one point.

“I had a few scary experiences,” Barr said.

She called the story-turned-television-episode a kind of validation.

“All the effort that I went to to write the book,” Barr said. “I did a lot of interviews – a lot of doors were slammed in my face.”

“It’s kind of coming full circle for me,” she said.

Barr did not get an early viewing of “Small Town Massacre.”

“I have not seen any of it other than what has been aired on the clips and commercials,” she said.

Asked about the next step for her book, Barr reported that the Lifetime Movie Network has expressed some interest, as well as Screen Gems.

“I would love to see it made into a movie. It has all the elements – greed, lust, envy, sex,” she said. “Everything that seems to be required.”

The Investigation Discovery channel will air the “Small Town Massacre” episode of “Deadly Sins” again on Sunday at midnight, 4 p.m. and 1 p.m.

A noted author , Barr will sign copies of her book from 1-3 p.m. Sunday at The Art of Literature, at 2209 Santa Barbara Blvd. On Wednesday, she will speak at 10:30 a.m. at the Northwest Regional Library, at 519 Chiquita Blvd.