Man Convicted of Fatally Shooting Wife in Lake Forest

LAKE FOREST (CNS) – A 62-year-old man was convicted Thursday of gunning down his wife in front of a Lake Forest hotel two years ago.

Philip Douglas Whyte was convicted of first-degree murder with a sentencing enhancement for the discharge of a firearm causing death, according to court records. He is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 19.

Whyte killed Cindy Whyte, 43, of Laguna Niguel, on June 10, 2020, at the Hilton Garden Inn Irvine Spectrum.

Deputies were called at 1:15 p.m. to the hotel at 23158 Lake Center Drive on a report of a man shooting a woman. When deputies arrived, they found the mortally injured woman outside the hotel with Whyte talking on his cellphone next to his Kia Optima, according to court papers.

Several people in the parking lot said Whyte shot the victim, according to court records.

Whyte told deputies that he wrote down what happened in a document titled “The Life of Michael and Cindy’s Relationship” that was in his car.

He wrote in the document “20 years of marriage I’ve invested everything I own body and soul,” according to court papers filed by his defense attorney Jessica Sweeny.

“My wife took everything I own, left me with a STD herpes virus,” he wrote, according to Sweeny.

An autopsy of the victim showed she did not have herpes, but Sweeny said an expert reported only a blood sample and not a swab of the body could show whether she had the sexually transmitted disease.

Whyte also wrote in the document that his health was declining and he needed surgery to his eyes and that his rent and bills were past due and his car was about to be repossessed.

“I have no family to turn to or friends,” Whyte wrote, adding that he had his son and daughter.

The document was not evidence in the trial, but text messages he exchanged with the victim that conveyed much of the same point were seen by jurors, who deliberated for about two hours before reaching a verdict.

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