Home / The Demise of Billy Carlyle White

The Demise of Billy Carlyle White

Ernest Basden

Today we are going to dive deeper into the Billy Carlyle White murder case. 

Right now, we are going to go over a brief summary of what happened before we dive deeper into the crime, the case, and ultimately the execution. 


Ernest West Basden shot and killed Billy Carlyle White in a murder-for-hire situation which was devised by White’s wife, Sylvia Ipock White and Basden’s nephew, James Lynwood Taylor. 

Ernest West Basden nephew James Lynwood Taylor was pretending to be a well-off businessman who was looking to buy an insurance policy to lure White out to a wooded rural area. 

This is when Basden and Taylor drove out to this wooded rural area to sit and white for White come. 

Then when White arrived at the selected location, this is when Taylor left his vehicle and introduced himself. After Taylor introduced himself, Basden gout of the car as well and this is when Basden lifted his twelve-gauge shotgun, that he had sitting on the ground next to him. 

Basden then pointed the shotgun at White and ultimately pulled the trigger. However, the shotgun did not fire just then because Basden forgot to cock the hammer back. When Basden realized this, he cocked the hammer and then fired that fatal shot. 

The shot knocked White onto the ground. Basden came over and took out the spent shell casing and proceeded to load another shell into his shotgun. 

Then Basden who was looking down at White decided he needed to put another shot in him. After, White was dead, Taylor gave Basden $300 for this murder. 

Both Basden and Taylor after the murder confessed to their parts of the killing. As for White’s wife Sylvia, she is currently sitting behind bars and received two life sentences and Taylor is serving out his life sentence. 

Basden Final Meal

For Basden’s final meal, he did not request anything special. He decided to eat what all other offenders in the Central Prison ate on that Thursday night. 

The menu for that Thursday night consisted of: 

  • Fruit Punch
  • Breaded Veal
  • Orange
  • Brown Gravy
  • Slices of Loaf Bread
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Mixed Vegetables
  • Three-bean Salad

Basden Final Words:

Basden’s final words were and I quote: 

I killed Billy White. I’m sorry for it. And I pray that his family will come to forgive me and let time heal their wounds. And that’s all we can do.”

The Crime

Basden was on death row since the 1993 murder of Billy Carlyle White, a Kintson insurance agent. 

Basden was 49 at the time when he was sentenced to death. On April 9, 1993, Basden was sentenced to death by the Duplin County Superior Court in the death of Billy Carlyle White. 

Basden stated that he was roped into the murder by White’s wife, Sylvia and his nephew, Taylor. The price he paid for murdering Billy Carlyle White was a measly $300. 

Basden shot and murdered him using a shotgun, after Basden arranged to meet White in a wooded rural area to talk about insurance policies. 

It was not until later when Basden decided it was best to confess to the killing of White, stating that at the time he needed that $300 badly. 

Sylvia White, the wife of the slain Billy Carlyle White was given a life sentence, but also was found guilty of killing her four-year-old stepson, in which she received yet another life sentence as well. 

Evidence that was shown in the courtroom proved that Sylvia White wanted to have her husband killed for a least a year prior. It showed that Sylvia White tried to poison him with poisonous plants and wild berries but was unsuccessful. 

This is when she found help in Linwood Taylor, which happened to be Ernest Basden’s nephew. Then Taylor went to Basden and told Basden that he needed some services, which would require Basden to act like a hitman. 

Basden at first thought this was not a good idea and even refused the offer. But, Basden ultimately started going through some financial troubles and went to his nephew, Taylor to see if the offer was still valid and agreed to be the hitman and kill Mr. White. 

This is when Taylor decided he needed to come up with an idea on how he can lure Mr. White into a rural location to do the job. This is when Taylor decided he was going to act as if he was a well-off businessman that came from out of town, who recently bought some property in the Jones County and wanted to purchase an insurance policy. 

This is when Taylor was able to arrange a meeting with Mr. White to meet him in a wooded rural location on January 20, 1992 at 8:30 pm. 

On the day of when the murder took place, Basden and Taylor drove out to the designated location to wait for Mr. White. 

When Mr. White arrived at the location, this is when Taylor got out of the vehicle and walked over to Mr. White introducing himself as Tim Conner. 

After this short exchange, Taylor excused himself and stated he needed to use the bathroom and walked to the other side of the road. This is when Basden got out of the vehicle and lifted his twelve-gauge shotgun that he had next to him on the ground. 

Basden then pointed the shotgun at Mr. White and pulled the trigger. However, the shotgun did not go off due to Basden forgetting to cock the hammer back. When Basden realized this, he cocked the hammer and fired that fatal shot. 

Mr. White was knocked onto the ground with that shot and Basden went around and picked up his spent shell casing before loading yet another shell into the shotgun. 

Basden then went over to Mr. White, who was still lying on the ground face up, and shot him one more time. 

During the trial, a pathologist stated that Mr. White bled to death from his shotgun wounds to the left lower abdomen and right upper chest. 

Sadly, even though Mr. White’s aorta was pretty much separated from his heart, he did not die immediately and would have remained conscious for some time. 

After Basden murdered Mr. White, both he and Taylor drove on back to Taylor’s home. Taylor stated he thought he had left his map at the scene of the crime, so they had to go back to the crime scene to check. When they returned to the crime scene, they decided since they were there to go through Mr. White’s pockets and they took a gold ring, a blank check, along with his wallet. 

Then they drove back to Taylor’s house once again. When they returned, they decided it would be best for them to burn the clothes that they were wearing in a firepit in the backyard. 

Taylor and Basden also decided it would be best to saw the shotgun in a few pieces with their hacksaw. They put the pieces in a bucket filled with cement and decided to throw it over the bridge into the Neuse River. 

Taylor, as promised, gave Basden his reward money of $300. 

Prior to Basden getting arrested, the police officers collected two of the metal base sections of the spent shotgun shells, which happened to be in ashes from the backyard firepit where Basden and Taylor burned their clothing. 

With forensic examination, they discovered that they were a match to the twelve-gauge shotgun shells and were pretty much positive that they were fired using the same weapon. 

When officers went to the repair shop that Basden owned, they were able to collect Mr. White’s gold ring that had three diamond settings. Basden had this ring in his pocket. 

On February 12, 1992 Sylvia and Taylor were arrested for their part in the murder of Mr. White. The pair were arrested only after Basden was in the Jones County Sheriff’s Office. This is the place where Basden told his nephew, Taylor, that he confessed everything. 

Then Taylor told Basden it was time to turn himself in and talk to Eric Smith who was an SBI Agent. 

Basden then went into an interview with Detective Simms and Agent Smith of the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office. After giving some basic simple background information, Basden told the pair that he was the one that shot and killed Mr. White. 

Issues with the Death Sentence

Originally, Basden was scheduled to be executed in North Carolina on December 6 for his part in the murder of Billy Carlyle White in 1992. 

However, what was odd was the same jurors that convicted him so many years ago are NOW speaking out against him being executed. The jurors are claiming that they did not quite understand the entire capital punishment system at the time that they gave Basden the death penalty. They did not quite understand that and a few of them confused it with the parole laws that were in place at the time as well. 

One juror that was on the Basden case was the one to convince the entire panel that Basden should get the death penalty. That juror stated with all the technicalities that surround all the sentencing protocols and such that it really did not mean Basden would see the day where he would be brought down to the death chamber. 

The rest of the jurors followed along with this one jurors thought process because this juror was able to convince them that they knew exactly what they were talking about, which ended up leading them to all decide the death penalty was the best option for this case. 

Now that the time is here, and it is time that Basden is executed six out of the 12 jurors are against the death penalty in his case. 

Within this case, you can see there are many flaws with the court’s assumption that these jurors knew exactly what happens in these sorts of capital punishment cases. There have been many jurors that do not really understand the reality of capital punishment decisions, which can blur the line of parole and execution. 

But, in the end, the court needs to avoid steering these sets of jurors to the death penalty, but they also need to inform the jurors better in explaining the realistic options as well. 

However, the state of North Carolina does fully intend to execute Basden for his role in killing Mr. White. Even though Basden confessed to the murder, he received the death sentence while Sylvia and Taylor both just received prison sentences. 

According to the United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, they stated that they believed Basden was “manipulated, intoxicated rube” and was troublesome. Even looking in Basden’s past you can see he was scarred with personality disorders, alcoholism, and drug abuse. Not to mention, Basden did not receive the best legal representation. 

Basden’s lawyers, however, were not effective at all. They failed to ask for any sort of postponement to his sentence hearing, which could have allowed the evidence in Mrs. White’s case to come to light. 

The district attorney stated the reason why Taylor was able to avoid receiving the death penalty was because Taylor was testifying in Mrs. White’s case. 

Ultimately, Ernest Basden was executed on December 6, 2002 in Raleigh, North Carolina.