Recaptured fugitive Casey White returns to Alabama for court arraignment after being on the run from authorities for 11 days – CNN

CNN  — 

Escaped inmate Casey White was brought back to Alabama late Tuesday night for his first court appearance since he was captured following a car chase in Evansville, Indiana, Monday.

He returned without the corrections official he fled with, Vicky White, who authorities preliminarily believe shot herself in the head following the chase. She died from her injuries, authorities said.

At the arraignment, Judge Ben Graves informed White he will be charged with escape in the first degree, in addition to capital murder charges he was already facing related to the 2015 death of Connie Ridgeway.

The inmate was escorted to the courthouse in a caravan of armored vehicles and arrived shortly before 11 p.m. He entered the courthouse in handcuffs and with shackles around his ankles and briefly met with his attorney before entering the courtroom.

Casey White at the courthouse in Florence, Alabama.Casey White at the courthouse in Florence, Alabama.

During the hearing, White listened intently with his eyes locked on the judge as he explained the charges. He appeared to be tired and sniffled more than once throughout the 10-minute hearing.

On the back of White’s head four small gashes could be seen within a shaved circumference of hair the size of a quarter. Dry blood was visible on the back of his bright yellow jumpsuit.

Immediately following the hearing, White exited the courthouse and glanced at the news cameras and the crowd of bystanders who had gathered, but he did not say anything. He will be transferred to the William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer, Alabama, a little more 100 miles south of Lauderdale County.

Casey White, 38, and Vicky White, 56, were captured Monday after a car chase, which ended when authorities forced the car Casey White was driving to wreck in a ditch, the US Marshals Service has said.

Vicky White was transported to the hospital where she later died from her injuries.

03:38 – Source: CNN
Video shows moment escaped Alabama inmate captured by police

Newly released police dash camera and body camera video show the moments after the car chase ended when Casey White was arrested and officers attempted to pull Vicky White, who was injured, from the car.

In the video, several officers can be seen surrounding Casey White, who is pinned to the ground next to the car. The fugitive is then taken into custody and led away from the wrecked car.

Authorities were not immediately able to pull Vicky White from the car because she appeared to still have a gun in her hand, according to officers seen in the body camera video, who also noted she appeared to be breathing.

After an officer reached in to take the gun from her hand, they worked to pull her from the sunroof opening in the car, the video shows.

The crash ended a frantic 11-day manhunt that spanned multiple states and elicited hundreds of tips, including one that ultimately led authorities to their capture.

Inmate’s arrest is a ‘huge relief’

Prior to his escape, Casey White was being held at the Lauderdale County Detention Center while facing capital murder charges related to the stabbing death of Ridgeway. Vicky White worked there as the assistant director of corrections.

Ridgeway’s son, Austin Williams, sat in the first row of the courtroom during Tuesday night’s court appearance, within 10 feet of White. Williams told CNN earlier Tuesday that White’s capture was a “huge relief,” and “it felt like a miracle.”

White allegedly confessed to killing Ridgeway in 2020, but later pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and was brought to Lauderdale County to attend court hearings in the case, authorities said.

He was already being held in a state prison on a 75-year sentence for a series of other crimes in 2015, including home invasion, carjacking and a police chase, the Marshals Service said.

Authorities believe Casey White and Vicky White met at the jail as early as 2020, Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said.

White’s murder trial is currently set for June. During Tuesday’s court appearance, White’s attorney, Jamy Poss, said he would be filing a change of venue motion, which the judge said he would consider.

The officer and inmate were traveling with cash and weapons

Officials previously said the inmate and officer had a “special relationship” that was romantic in nature in which Casey White received privileges like extra food at the detention center because of Vicky White, Singleton said.

Over the course of the investigation, authorities increasingly believed Vicky White willingly helped the inmate escape. After the two were captured, authorities found supplies that may have allowed them to be on the run for much longer.

Authorities found wigs, $29,000 cash and several weapons among their possessions, including four handguns, an AR-15 rifle and three magazines, Vanderburgh County, Indiana, Sheriff Dave Wedding said Tuesday.

The Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office released images of weapons they say were recovered from the crashed Cadillac.The Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office released images of weapons they say were recovered from the crashed Cadillac.

“Any one of these weapons could have been used to ambush our officers while they were attempting to capture a murder suspect,” he said.

Before their escape, Vicky White sold her house for well below market value and announced her plans to retire, authorities have said. Though her last day of work was set for April 29, the day they escaped, her retirement paperwork had not been finalized, the sheriff’s department said.

The veteran officer used her years of experience to plan and execute the escape, officials have said.

Vicky White “was basically the mastermind behind the whole plan,” Singleton said Tuesday. “Casey White didn’t escape from the facility; he was basically just let out.”

The journey to Indiana

Monday’s crash marked the end of an 11-day ordeal that began when Vicky White checked the inmate out of jail the morning of April 29. She said she was taking him to the courthouse for a mental health evaluation but they never arrived.

The pair instead drove to a shopping center parking lot, ditched the officer’s patrol vehicle and took off in a 2007 Ford Edge SUV that Vicky White had bought under an alias and parked in the lot the night before, Singleton said last week.

The SUV was found in a tow lot in Williamson County, Tennessee, Friday, about two hours north of the jail in Florence, Alabama, US Marshals have said. Singleton says the pair likely abandoned it hours after they left Florence, possibly due to mechanical issues.

Authorities believe they purchased a Ford F-150 truck while in Tennessee.

They are believed to have been in Evansville since at least May 2, when a city police officer proactively checked the license plate of the truck, Evansville Police Chief Billy Bolin said Tuesday. At the time, the check did not flag any connection between the truck and the fugitives, he said.

US Marshals learned Sunday that the truck had been abandoned at an Evansville car wash. On Monday, the agency released surveillance images that showed who investigators believed to be Casey White at the car wash.

U.S. Marshals released photos of who they believe was fugitive Casey White caught on surveillance at an Evansville Indiana car wash.U.S. Marshals released photos of who they believe was fugitive Casey White caught on surveillance at an Evansville Indiana car wash.

Investigators determined the pair left the car wash in a Cadillac, according to Wedding, the Vanderburgh County sheriff.

An Evansville police officer reported Monday that the Cadillac was parked in a motel parking lot and officers began conducting surveillance on the motel.

As officers were conducting surveillance on the motel, Vicky White and Casey White exited, got into the Cadillac and drove away, US Marshal Marty Keely said. Officers followed them and a car chase ensued, ending when authorities forced the fugitives to wreck in a ditch.

Casey White reportedly told authorities to help “his wife” who he said had shot herself in the head, according to Keely, who noted that Casey White and Vicky White were not married to investigators’ knowledge.

CNN’s Omar Jimenez, Jamiel Lynch, Kristina Sgueglia, Amara Walker, Jade Gordon and Eric Levenson contributed to this report.

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