Couple on trial for horse mistreatment found dead in their home

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A couple standing trial in Wisconsin on felony horse mistreatment charges were found in the remains of their burned farmhouse in what officials say was a murder-suicide.

Officers with the Pleasant Prairie Police Department were called to the home of Paula and David White on Thursday last week following a report of a house fire.

On Saturday, police said the bodies had been formally identified as those of the Whites by the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office, with the assistance of the Kenosha County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Dental records were used in the identification process, police said.

On Monday, police confirmed that Paula White had sustained two gunshot wounds to her head. Her death was being treated as a homicide. David White had a single gunshot wound to his head and his death was being treated as a suicide.

The gunshot wounds were listed as the cause of death in both cases.

Their dog also sustained a gunshot wound.

Evidence from the scene has been taken to the State of Wisconsin Crime Lab for testing.

The Whites had been facing trial over allegations they fatally starved 11 horses on their farm and provided improper shelter to six kinds of animals.

Jurors were in the process of considering their verdict at the time the Whites died.

Judge Michael Wilk allowed jurors to deliver their verdict on the Thursday – day of the fire – even though the defendants were not in court (their remains had not been formally identified at that stage).

Jurors found them guilty of 11 felony animal mistreatment charges and two misdemeanors.

Judge Wilk then adjourned proceedings to this Thursday.

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