The search continues for a missing murder suspect and the sheriff’s deputy who allegedly helped him escape jail, but the inmate’s former attorney voiced concerns about how the chase might end. Citing Casey White‘s dicey 2015 encounter with law enforcement, lawyer Dale Bryant voiced concern his ex-client could escalate matters.
“Casey wanted to die,” he told WAFF Assistant News Director Miguel Diaz-Lucier in an interview published Friday.
White, 38, has been serving a 75-year prison sentence for a multi-state crime spree committed in 2015. He recently ended up in the Lauderdale County Jail of Alabama when charged in 2020 for allegedly killing Connie Jane Ridgeway, 59, as part of a 2015 murder-for-hire plot. That’s where authorities say he encountered sheriff’s Assistant Director of Corrections Vicky White (no relation). Authorities say the pair absconded from the jail on April 29, leaving deputy White’s colleagues shocked.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton voiced sympathy for Ridgeway’s two sons now that inmate White is on the run.
“We thought we had closure for them to a point, and now that’s totally upside down,” he said in a press conference on Monday.
Looking back at inmate White’s 2015 arrest, Bryant voiced concern this search might end in violence.
“He was trying to get the officers to shoot him and that is kind of my fear, how this situation is going to end,” said the attorney, who represented him during the appeals process. “Except for this time, I’m afraid that Casey may try to shoot them [police] to try and get them to shoot him.”
Authorities have repeatedly emphasized White’s violent demeanor, size at 6 feet and 9 inches, as well as him likely being armed with deputy White’s guns. This includes an AR-15 rifle, a shotgun, and another pistol, according to Singleton.
Bryant painted a complicated picture of his former client. He said inmate White lives with mental illness–“I honestly can’t remember if it’s schizophrenia”–and actually did better in lockup.
“When he gets out of incarceration, he is unable to stay on his medication, and he even self medicates by smoking methamphetamine or taking other illegal substances,” Bryant said.
White is a “decent person” while on medication and in a supervised environment, Bryant said.
“All my clients want to get out of jail, and Casey’s like, ‘I can’t function outside of jail,'” he said.
Bryant described a big difference between the Casey White who is on meth and not on medication, and the Casey White in the county jail.
“[He’s] sweeping the floor, really friendly guy,” the attorney said. “Every time I met with him, he was really honest and straightforward. He’s one of the few clients I had that never held back and try to lie to me about something. He just laid it out on the table. Just a big difference between being medicated and not on his medications.”
White had a difficult time at the William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility because of other inmates, he said.
“He just wanted out of Donaldson Prison,” Bryant said, later noting he heard that other inmates had stabbed his former client.
Casey White was charged in the Ridgeway murder after allegedly writing an investigator a letter in June 2020 and confessing during a follow-up interview in prison, according to AL.com.
“I’m not saying he didn’t commit the murder of Ms. Ridgeway, but I’m saying is, the reason why he confessed to it was to get out of Donaldson Prison,” Bryant said.
Authorities have said they have more evidence against inmate White in the Ridgeway case than just the confession, though Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly declined to elaborate. Details of the confession allegedly matched evidence from the crime scene, which officials had not released.
Singleton has suggested that deputy White had a romantic relationship with the inmate. This allegedly extended to her off-duty hour. They knew each other for at least two years, officials have said.
“I was not shocked Casey escaped,” Bryant said, noting an earlier escape attempt from the jail. “I was shocked of who he escaped with. I had never heard of her before.”
Singleton initially held out hope that deputy White was coerced into aiding the escape, but officials are now saying that she likely used her law enforcement experience to keep herself and Casey White off investigators’ radar. Deputy White faces a warrant for permitting or facilitating an escape in the first-degree. According to officials, the pair abandoned a patrol car in a parking lot minutes from the jail, and transferred to a 2007 Ford Edge SUV, leaving that even before authorities realized there was an escape. That second vehicle recently turned up in a tow yard in Williamson County, Tennessee.
Deputy White reportedly sold her house for below market value before the escape. She filed for retirement. April 29–the day of the incident–was her last day on the job.
Bryant said this escape was too sophisticated for White, who he described as impulsive and engaging in “crimes of passion” while intoxicated.
He described his client as engaging in strong attachments.
“Most of his crimes that involves any violence toward women, it always seems to be they’ve ended the relationship, and he’s not ready for it to end,” the attorney said. “So he kind of forms that attachment. Really hard to let go.”
[Images of deputy White via the Lauderdale County, Ala. Sheriff’s Office, image of deputy White via the U.S. Marshals Service]
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