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Casey White, Alabama Inmate Accused Of Brazen Jail Escape, Hires New Defense Team In Murder Case
“We’re building his defense from the ground up, starting over and everything," attorney Robert Tuten said of plans to defend Casey White in the 2015 murder of 58-year-old Connie Ridgeway.
Casey White, who made headlines for escaping an Alabama jail with the help of a corrections officer-turned-love interest, has secured a new defense team for his upcoming murder trial.
Attorney Robert Tuten confirmed to Oxygen.com that White’s family has hired a team of private attorneys to defend the 38-year-old on murder charges in the 2015 death of Connie Ridgeway, a 58-year-old woman found stabbed to death in her apartment.
The new legal team will also represent White on new charges connected to the April 29 escape from the Lauderdale County Detention Center, where he had been transferred to face court proceedings in Ridgeway’s case.
“We’re going to rebuild the case as the defense from the bottom up and start over like it’s a new case," he said. “Whatever has been done or hasn’t been done in the past is of no consequence, we’re going to start over and build a case from the ground up.”
White had previously confessed to killing Ridgeway and pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, according to Fox News.
While Tuten said Alabama's state bar has specific rules about what attorneys can say about case strategy that prevented him from getting into specifics, he did confirm that White's plea in Ridgeway's case would remain a plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect "at least for the time being."
A preliminary hearing on the new charges connected to the escape will be held on June 20.
White was already serving a 75-year prison sentence for a 2015 crime spree in which he broke into his ex-girlfriend’s Limestone County home, fired multiple shots at her as she ran to safety at a neighbor’s home, killed a dog and then broke into another man’s home where he stole a vehicle and a pistol, AL.com reported last month. White then opened fire on another woman at a Tennessee welcome center who had refused to open her car door, stole another vehicle and led authorities on a chase before he was ultimately taken into custody.
He was moved from the prison where he was serving that sentence to the Lauderdale County Detention Center for legal proceedings in the Ridgeway case, when authorities say he walked out of the jail on April 29 with the help of former corrections officer Vicky White.
Vicky White—who has no relation to Casey White—had been in a romantic relationship with the inmate and helped him break out by telling her coworkers she was transporting him to the courthouse for a fictional mental health evaluation. Once the pair left the detention center, they headed to a parking lot where authorities say Vicky White had stashed a getaway car and the pair took off, remaining on the run for 11 days until officials tracked them down in Indiana.
Once they were spotted, they led authorities on a chase until a pit maneuver was used by a member of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force to stop the vehicle. After the vehicle rolled over, Vicky White shot herself in the head, while Casey White was taken back into custody, authorities have said.
Now back in custody, court proceedings in the Ridgeway case are expected to resume. White is facing charges of capital murder during a first-degree burglary and murder for pecuniary gain, implying it had been a murder-for-hire.
Ridgeway was found stabbed to death in the living room of her apartment on October 23, 2015.
Her son, Austin Williams, previously spoke to Oxygen.com about what kind of person his mother was.
“She was just super sweet, typical Christian, southern lady,” he said. “She was always smiling, always happy. A person who was in that community where everybody there just loved her.”
Her two sons Austin and Cameron Williams and family friend Mark White, who had been unaware White was moved to the detention center, are now working together to propose a bill to notify victims or the family members of victims if an inmate has been transferred, according to WHNT.
“The reason that ‘Connie’s Law’ is so important is so that we don’t re-victimize families but rather empower them,” White told the news outlet.
If convicted of murdering Ridgeway, White could face the death penalty.
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