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Escaped Alabama inmate reaches plea deal in death of jailer who aided him


Alabama inmate who escaped from jail with the help of a sheriff’s officer and led police on an 11-day manhunt that ended in the death of the officer reached a plea deal on Thursday, his attorney said.

Casey White has pleaded guilty to escape, instead of murder, in connection with the death of the sheriff’s officer who aided him, Vicky White.

“Things happened very quickly today, unexpectedly,” Casey White’s attorney Robert Tuten told reporters after the hearing, according to video from NBC affiliate WAFF of Huntsville.

Tuten said White pleaded guilty to escaping and would be sentenced later.

Lauderdale Country District Attorney Chris Connolly did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The WAFF reported that Connolly said White had accepted a life sentence with the possibility of parole.

The April 29, 2022 escape sparked a nationwide manhunt and intense media coverage.

Vicky White, then assistant director of corrections at Lauderdale County Jail in Florence, helped White escape, telling others she was taking him for a mental health evaluation, officials said.

Authorities said Vicky White was in a two-year relationship with White, and the sheriff called her the mastermind of the escape at the time. Vicky and Casey White are not related.

Police caught up with the couple in Indiana on May 9, 2022. Vicky White died at the end of a police chase in which the vehicle she and the escapee were traveling in crashed. The coroner said she had taken her own life and killed herself.

Casey White was charged with murder in July on the allegation he caused her death during a first-degree escape.

He is already serving a 75-year sentence which was handed down in 2019.

He also faces a capital murder charge in the 2015 murder of Connie Ridgeway, who was fatally stabbed in her home.

White was awaiting trial in the Ridgeway case when he escaped from Lauderdale County Jail with the help of Vicky White.

He was also federally charged in Indiana in connection with the escape. After the chase, police said they found several firearms.

In July, he was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and a fugitive in possession of a firearm, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Southern Indiana said at the time. .

That case is ongoing, according to online court records. The charges stem from White allegedly possessing five firearms, including an AR-15 rifle, as a convicted felon while on the run last year.

The Associated Press contributed.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.