The attorney who represented Casey White during his trial for a 2015 crime spree that got him a 75 year prison sentence says the escaped convict is mentally ill and likely off his meds — and that’s not a good thing.
Dale Bryant told AL.com that “Casey’s an all right guy” when he’s living in a structured environment — like prison — and taking his meds.
“When he’s off his medication, he usually self-medicates through drugs, usually methamphetamine, and that’s when things become a problem,’’ Bryant said.
White, 38, slipped out of an Alabama county jail with the help of rogue jailer Vicky White, 57 — no relation — on April 29 in an obviously carefully planned escape: No one even knew they were gone for six hours, and by that time they’d already abandoned their getaway car in Tennessee.
There have been no signs of them since that day. For Bryant, that means that it was Vicky White who plotted out the escape.
“The planning of this escape was far too thorough and too far-thinking,’’ Bryant said, “and that is not Casey’s MO.”
The attorney said that Casey is “more an impulsive kind of guy” and “not a planner.”
“You can even look at all of his prior criminal acts – none of those were planned,’’ he said. “They were all spur of the moment. He’s just reacting to things.”
Up until 2015, Casey White’s criminal acts were minor, other than an ultimately dismissed domestic involving his mother. But in December 2015, he broke into a Limestone County house, stole some guns, and went to his ex-girlfriend’s house, where he shot at her and two men who were there and killed her dog. There were children inside who weren’t hurt.
White fled the house and broke into another, demanding money from the man inside. Then he stole that man’s vehicle and another pistol. Thirty minutes later, he was at the Tennessee welcome center on Interstate 65, trying to carjack another vehicle. The woman inside refused to open the door, so he fired, hitting her in the arm, got back in the stolen vehicle and drove to another exit, where he successfully carjacked a Lincoln sedan.
And then he drove back to Alabama.
Deputies saw him as he entered Limestone County. They pursued him along US 31 at speeds topping 100 mph. When White got the car stuck in a field, he and the deputies engaged in a standoff until White asked to talk to then-Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely.
Blakely arrived and convinced White, who was holding two guns to his own head and threatening to kill himself, to surrender.
White was convicted on nine charges in Limestone County and sentenced to 75 years. He has yet to be tried for the Tennessee crimes.
White was sent to William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility in Jefferson County, a state prison his former attorney said he hated — and where he was stabbed three times. Bryant said he’d tried to have White sent to Tennessee to stand trial.
“I’m not saying he didn’t have anything to do with the Connie Ridgeway murder, but I think that’s the reason why he’s confessing to it, to get out of that prison to get to another prison,” Bryant said
And then Casey White confessed to killing Connie Jane Ridgeway in Lauderdale County. That got him transferred to the county jail there — where he met assistant director of corrections Vicky White and began a behind bars romance. Casey White tried to escape Lauderdale County early on and was sent back to state prison, where he and Vicky White kept up their communications.
Casey White was recently brought back to Lauderdale County for pretrial hearings — his murder trial was set to begin in June. That’s when the escape plan was executed.
Now, Bryant says, his “biggest fear” is that Casey White, without his medication, will try to get law enforcement to kill him.
“He just doesn’t function well outside of a structured environment, like the 2015 incident when he was off his meds and high on methamphetamine.” the attorney said. “He was just in a really bad mental state.”
Bryant said Casey White has a diagnosed mental illness but said he didn’t feel comfortable saying what that is.
“I wouldn’t say he is suicidal but once he crashed and was cornered, you could tell from the video and the interviews afterward, that was his intent in that moment,” Bryant said. “I hope no one ends up hurt and that when they’re caught, everybody is take in safely.”
Rewards for information leading to Casey White and Vicky White have reached a total of $25,000 — $15,000 for the inmate and $10,000 for the jailer.
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[Featured image: Casey White, left, and Vicky White/US Marshals Service]