What escaped inmate Casey White said during arrest as questions remain over guard’s death: ‘I didn’t do it’

‘Y’all help my wife, she shot herself in the head and I didn’t do it,’ Casey White allegedly told officers as soon as he was caught

Rachel Sharp
Tuesday 10 May 2022 18:55 BST
US Marsal describes capture of Alabama fugitive Casey White

The first words from escaped Alabama inmate Casey White after his capture were “I didn’t do it” as his corrections officer lover lay dying from a gunshot wound in their car.

White, a 38-year-old capital murder suspect, and Vicky White, a 56-year-old Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office Assistant Director of Corrections, were finally captured on Monday following a 10-day multi-state manhunt after she allegedly helped break him out of jail back on 29 April.

Ms White died from a gunshot wound to the head after a dramatic police chase and car crash in Evansville, Indiana.

White surrendered to authorities on the scene and instantly denied pulling the trigger on the woman he allegedly had a two-year jailhouse romance with.

“Y’all help my wife, she shot herself in the head and I didn’t do it,” he told officers, according to US Marshal Martin Keeley.

The US Marshal told CNN on Monday night that there is no evidence to suggest that the Whites, who are not related, are married.

Officials initially said that she had suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

However, Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton told NewsNationNow’s Brian Entin that officials weren’t ruling anything out and that he would not be surprised if her gunshot wound was actually not self-inflicted.

No law enforcement officers opened fire during the encounter with the fugitives, the sheriff said.

An autopsy will be carried out on Tuesday to determine the cause and manner of death.

With Ms White now dead, many questions remain unanswered around both the shock prison escape and the alleged suicide of the 56-year-old widow who had a two-decades-long “exemplary” career.

Sheriff Singleton, who was Ms White’s boss and worked with her for many years, said on Monday prior to her death that he hoped she would survive her “grave injuries” as she had some questions to answer.

“We don’t wish any ill will on Vicky, but she has some answers to give us,” he said.

Casey White pictured in his new mugshot after being returned to jail following a 10-day manhunt
Casey White pictured in his new mugshot after being returned to jail following a 10-day manhunt (Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office )

White was being held in the jail where the 56-year-old corrections officer worked as he awaited trial for the capital murder of a 58-year-old woman.

Sheriff Singleton said that he will be returned to the same facility that he broke out of as he vowed to ensure he would never escape again.

“He will be in a cell by himself. He will stay in handcuffs and shackles while he’s in that cell and if he wants to sue me for violating his civil rights, so be it,” he said.

“He’s not getting out of this jail again. I’ll assure you that.”

White appeared in court virtually on Tuesday morning where he waived his right to an extradition hearing, telling Judge Robert Pigman: “I want to go back to Alabama.”

He was booked into Vanderburgh County jail in the early hours of Tuesday morning where he was said to be cooperating with authorities.

Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office released a new mugshot of the escapee with a clean-shaven look – having gotten rid of the moustache and goatee he sported before his time on the run in images shared by law enforcement during the manhunt.

The net closed in on the suspects after authorities received a tip from a member of the public that they were staying at a hotel in Evansville.

US Marshal Keely said that officers began surveillance and spotted Ms White exiting the hotel dressed in a wig.

She and White then got into a cadillac and drove away.

Muddy tracks mark the spot where the Cadillac sedan that fugitives Casey White and Vicky White were driving crashed
Muddy tracks mark the spot where the Cadillac sedan that fugitives Casey White and Vicky White were driving crashed (Denny Simmons)

At that point, law enforcement gave chase, before US Marshals rammed the couple’s car off the road to bring it to a stop, causing it to roll over.

US Marshals said that the convict was immediately removed from the car and surrendered but that Ms White was pinned inside the vehicle with a gunshot wound.

Once she was taken to hospital, officials said that her condition was “grave” before her death was confirmed around an hour later.

Contradictory reports have been given by authorities around who was behind the wheel at the time.

Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding said the couple appear to have been in Indiana for six days before their capture since 3 May when surveillance footage captured the inmate at a local car wash.

“It’s hard to believe they were here that many days. They’re criminals, sometimes they do things that are inexplicable, but I’m glad they did,” he told reporters on Monday evening.

Surveillance footage, shared as stills by officials on Monday afternoon, showed the capital murder suspect entering the Weinbach Car Wash in Evansville, Indiana, last Tuesday.

Vicky White died after suffering a gunshot wound to the head
Vicky White died after suffering a gunshot wound to the head (Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office)

US Marshal Commander of the Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force Chad Hunt told The Independent that officials had confirmed that White is the man in the image.

Corrections officer Vicky White, who is believed to have been in a romantic relationship with him for the last two years, was not spotted at the car wash, he said.

Investigators descended on the business on Monday following a tip off that a 2006 Ford F-150 had been found abandoned there last Wednesday.

The owner of the car wash then provided investigators with the images of White from the surveillance cameras.

US Marshals believe the truck was used by the inmate and corrections officer during their time on the run.

Evansville is about 175 miles north of Williamson County, Tennessee, where the couple abandoned their first getaway car – a rust-coloured 2007 Ford Edge.

On Friday, the US Marshals Service announced that the Ford Edge had been found along a rural road in Tennessee around a two hour drive north of the Lauderdale County jail where the inmate was being held prior to his 29 April prison break.

Officials said the couple left the jail in Ms White’s patrol car before abandoning the vehicle in the parking lot of a nearby shopping centre and changing into the getaway car.

However, officials believe they were forced to switch vehicles again after the Ford Edge broke down.

The Ford Edge was actually located just hours after the pair disappeared and was taken to a tow lot in Williamson County – but its connection to the case was only realised on Friday.

The second getaway vehicle had been reported missing near Nashville, Tennessee, sometime after the Ford Edge was found abandoned.

The cadillac is towed away following Monday’s car chase
The cadillac is towed away following Monday’s car chase (AP)

Officials admitted that the time lapse in identifying the Ford Edge as the getaway car marked another “setback” in the manhunt after the couple already had a six-hour headstart before jail staff even noticed them missing.

White will now face fresh charges over the prison escape. It is not yet clear if he will face any charges related to Ms White’s death.

Before her death, Ms White had also been charged with permitting/aiding an escape, identity theft and second-degree forgery.

Sheriff Singleton said that the couple had been in what he described as a “jailhouse romance” or “special relationship” for the last two years.

He said that there is evidence that they had been in contact since 2020 when White was transferred out of the county jail after he was rumbled plotting another prison escape.

Ms White allegedly communicated with him by phone before the inmate was then transferred back to the local jail in February.

On his return, White had received special treatment from the corrections officer including being given extra food on his trays, officials said.

Ms White had also sold her home just five weeks earlier for well below its market value, withdrew $90,000 in cash from her bank accounts and filed for retirement days before the pair vanished.

Her last day of work was the day she disappeared, though her retirement papers had not been finalised.

After selling her home, she moved in with her mother who previously said that she knew nothing about her daughter’s plans to retire and had never heard her speak of White.

The sheriff’s office said that Ms White, who is not related to the inmate, picked him up from the detention centre at around 9.30am on 29 April claiming that she was taking him for a mental health evaluation at Lauderdale County Courthouse.

She told her coworkers that once she had escorted him to court she was going to seek medical attention for herself as she felt unwell.

They never arrived at the courthouse and neither the corrections officer nor the inmate have been seen since.

Sheriff Singleton said that they later learned that White had no scheduled court appearance or appointments that day.

Ms White’s 2013 Ford Taurus patrol car was found abandoned in the parking lot of a shopping centre not far from the jail at around 11am that day.

Sheriff Singleton said that Ms White, who coordinates all inmate transportation, broke protocol by taking the inmate out of the jail alone.

Due to the severity of charges against White and his previous prison break attempt, it is policy that he must be escorted by two sworn deputies at all times including when he is transported to and from the courthouse.

But, despite the breach, the alarm was only raised several hours after the pair left the jail on Friday morning.

Casey White is spotted on surveillance footage at a car wash in Indiana
Casey White is spotted on surveillance footage at a car wash in Indiana (US Marshals Service)

At around 3.30pm that afternoon, Ms White’s coworkers grew concerned that she hadn’t returned and they were unable to reach her by phone.

It was only then that they also realised that White had also not returned to jail.

White is awaiting trial on capital murder charges over the 2015 stabbing murder of 58-year-old mother Connie Ridgeway.

Ms Ridgeway was found stabbed to death in her apartment in Rogersville, Alabama, on 23 October 2015.

The case went unsolved for five years until White sent a letter to authorities confessing to the crime.

At the time he was already behind bars serving a 75-year sentence after being convicted of a crime spree in both Alabama and Tennessee.

The spree includes a home invasion, carjacking and a police chase, with White shooting one person and holding six at gunpoint.

In 2020, White was charged with two counts of capital murder over the killing of Ms Ridgeway.

The Marshals Service said that White had also threatened to kill his ex-girlfriend and her sister in 2015, and previously said that he wanted to be killed by police.

In the early aftermath of the prison escape, the sheriff described Ms White as an “exemplary employee” who had worked as a corrections officer for more than two decades.

It has since emerged that she helped to orchestrate the escape of the man she was in some sort of relationship with, according to officials.

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