White confessed that day after being told the woman's body was likely to deteriorate in the cold, wet weather, Mioduszewski said. He said his fantasy had been fueled by pornographic videos.
Houghton said the congregation was aware of White's criminal past when he joined the church. He was released from prison in 2007, after serving nearly 12 years for manslaughter in the death of a 26-year-old woman in Kalamazoo County, according to the Michigan Corrections Department.
He had previously been sentenced to probation for choking and stabbing a 17-year-old Battle Creek girl in 1981.
"He was absolutely contrite," said Houghton, 76. "All kinds of people turn around and meet the Lord and they are a different person. He was doing a lot of good in the community. ... He was doing a lot of good and Satan did not want him doing good and Satan got to him."
She said White got on her roof and cleaned her neglected gutters last week, a chore that inspired his Sunday talk. She recalled him saying during that sermon that "we need to check closely the seeds we sprout in ourselves. Nothing can be hidden from God."
At the trailer park on Friday, pictures of pumpkins and other Halloween decorations were still on Gay's home. Park resident Matt Brown said White regularly cut through his yard to visit Gay's trailer that was one street away.
Brown, 21, said White seemed to have scratches on his face when he told residents Wednesday that Gay was missing and that her car had been found outside a bar.
"It looked like he was in a struggle," Brown recalled.
Charles Kenworthy, another resident of the park about 11 miles west of Mount Pleasant, said the killing so close was "just scary."
"I would think they'd want to look into different people and their background before they let somebody live here," the 53-year-old said.
White reported from Detroit. AP News Researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.