FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama prisoner received a life sentence on Thursday for escaping with the help of a jail official who ultimately took her own life as police closed in following a manhunt across three states.
Casey White, 39, told those gathered in the Lauderdale County courtroom that he felt like the most hated man in the world but that he wouldn’t drag 56-year-old corrections officer Vicky White’s name “through the dirt,” news outlets reported. He said Vicky White, who was not related to him, was the first person who cared about him in six years.
He apologized for the escape, saying Vicky White’s only regret was leaving behind her family.
“We just wanted a new life together because she knew the truth. I can handle the truth because I know who I am,” White said. “I chose this road. It’s cost me my life and freedom.”
White was serving a 75-year prison term for an array of charges from 2015, including attempted murder, and he was awaiting a capital murder trial when he escaped in April 2022. The pair was on the run for 11 days until Casey White was recaptured in Evansville, Indiana. Vicky White died by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
White pleaded guilty to escape in exchange for prosecutors dropping a felony murder charge involving Vicky White’s death, and agreed to the maximum sentence of life without parole.
Casey White was also told to notify the state if he, his family or attorneys receive opportunities for books, movies or other financial opportunities related to the escape, which made national headlines, as any proceeds should be used to pay for his defense.
Meanwhile, he still faces an Aug. 14 capital murder trial for the 2015 slaying of Connie Ridgeway in Rogersville, Alabama. That trial was delayed in the aftermath of the escape and White retaining a new team of attorneys.