Inmate Is Charged in Death of Officer Who Aided His Escape


Casey White, the inmate whose escape from an Alabama jail in April set off a nationwide manhunt, has been indicted on a felony murder charge in the death of the former corrections officer who helped him flee, the authorities said Tuesday.

Mr. White surrendered and the officer, Vicky White, died after a police pursuit ended in a crash in Indiana on May 9. The two, who were not related, had been on the run since April 29, when they left the Lauderdale County Jail in Florence, Ala., for a courthouse appointment that was later revealed to be a fabrication.

The authorities said at the time of the crash that Ms. White, 56, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

“The felony murder indictment alleges that during the course of and in furtherance of committing escape in the first degree, White caused the death of Vicky White, who died from a gunshot to the head,” Chris Connolly, the Lauderdale County district attorney, said in a statement.

Under Alabama law, people may be charged with murder if they cause someone’s death while committing another crime, including escape in the first degree.

“Causing her death doesn’t mean he pointed a gun at her and he shot her,” Mr. Connolly said in an interview. “He was engaged in the escape and she died.”

Mr. White was served with the warrant on the new charge in an Alabama prison on Monday.

“Casey White will enter a plea of not guilty to the charge of felony murder at his arraignment,” his lawyer, Mark McDaniel, said.

Mr. McDaniel said the defense team would file a motion for the state to produce a copy of Ms. White’s autopsy report and could file additional motions from there. He said he could not comment further.

Ms. White and Mr. White disappeared after they left the Lauderdale County Jail on April 29 for an appointment for a mental health evaluation that did not exist. Days later, the Alabama authorities issued an arrest warrant for Ms. White, who had been one of the most respected and senior figures at the jail, the Lauderdale County sheriff, Rick Singleton, said in April.

Credit…Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office, via Associated Press

The search for the Whites ended on May 9 in Evansville, Ind., more than 200 miles north of the jail, after the authorities there heard that the pair were in a vehicle nearby and began pursuing it.

A U.S. Marshals vehicle struck the car that the Whites were driving, causing theirs to roll over and crash. Mr. White surrendered to the authorities while Ms. White, who had been shot, was taken to a hospital, where she died. The authorities said she had shot herself in the head.

Mr. White said he had intended to engage in a shootout with the police, said Sheriff Dave Wedding of Vanderburgh County, Ind. Mr. White told the authorities that he and Ms. White were married, which was not true, Sheriff Wedding said.

The authorities found $29,000 in cash in their car along with four guns and different-colored wigs.

At the time of his escape, Mr. White, 38, was awaiting trial on two counts of capital murder in a murder-for-hire slaying from 2015. He was supposed to have two deputies with him at all times — a rule that Ms. White was supposed to enforce.

He had been serving a 75-year sentence for previous convictions, including robbery, burglary, carjacking and kidnapping, according to booking records. He was also serving a six-year sentence on a domestic violence charge.

The day she fled the jail with Mr. White was supposed to be her last day of work before retiring. Sheriff Singleton said the timing was strange as her benefits would not have been available to her for four years.

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