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A judge has granted a prosecution request for a hearing after Casey White, a man who made national headlines after escaping from an Alabama jail earlier this year, requested to be moved from state prison to another county jail.
Circuit Judge Benjamin Graves has scheduled a hearing for Oct. 11 to weigh arguments by prosecutors and White’s defense team about whether the convicted felon needs to move to the jail as he prepares for an upcoming murder trial in the 2015 death of Connie Ridgeway, according to a notice obtained by Oxygen.com.
White’s defense team had filed a motion Friday to have White moved from Donaldson Prison in Bessemer to the closer Cullman County Jail so that it's easier for his defense team to prepare for the December capital murder trial, AL.com reports.
His defense team said in the motion that the move was unopposed and claimed to have the support of Cullman County Sheriff Matt Gentry, but prosecutors and the sheriff himself have since pushed back on the motion, saying that Gentry had been misquoted.
According to a statement released by the sheriff Friday night and obtained by Oxygen.com, Gentry said he was misquoted in the defense motion as saying he is “ready and willing to house Mr. White,” who gained national media attention after breaking out of the Lauderdale County Jail in April with the help of now deceased prison guard Vicky White.
“Today, Friday September 9th 2022, news broke about a court filing in which capital murder suspect Casey White’s legal team has requested that he be housed in the Cullman County Detention Center for his upcoming trial in Lauderdale County. There is a quote attributed to me in the media that states I am ‘ready and willing to house Mr. White.’ This quote is not correct, as it makes it appear that we are eagerly seeking to house Mr. White,” Gentry said in the statement.
“As I told Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton, and the Casey White legal team when we spoke, if the judge in the case ordered Mr. White be housed in the Cullman County Detention Center, my deputies, my command staff and I will make sure Mr. White is well guarded,” he continued. “He will be kept in solitary confinement 23 hours a day, only being allowed 1 hour in the exercise yard while still under guard, as mandated by law.”
In a motion of his own, which also referenced the alleged “miscommunication” with the sheriff, District Attorney Chris Connolly said state officials at Donaldson prison have already accommodated the defense requests to meet with their client and will “remain ready, willing and able to accommodate all reasonable requests” in the future, according to court records obtained by Oxygen.com.
Connolly requested a hearing to determine whether the move to a county jail was necessary.
He declined to comment to Oxygen.com about anything outside of the contents of motion.
Graves will have the final say after hearing arguments from both sides next month.
White, who is already serving a 75-year prison sentence for a 2015 crime spree, had been awaiting trial for Ridgeway’s murder in April when authorities say Lauderdale County guard Vicky White, who had started a romantic relationship with Casey, escorted him out of the jail under the pretense that she was transporting him to court for a mental health hearing, as previously reported by Oxygen.com.
Instead, authorities said Vicky drove the couple to a getaway car she had stashed in a nearby parking lot and the two lovers embarked on an 11-day trip on the run.
Vicky White took her own life on May 9 as law enforcement authorities closed in on the couple’s stolen vehicle in Evansville, Indiana, during a police pursuit. The couple had been hiding out at a local hotel when they were spotted by law enforcement authorities and the pursuit began.
Casey White has since been charged with felony murder in her death because Vicky White died during the course of the escape.
He’s expected to go to trial in December for death of Connie Ridgeway, who was found stabbed to death on the floor of her living room in 2015.
Ridgeway’s family is hopeful that Casey White will remain in prison as the trial approaches.
"For obvious reasons, we're very opposed to moving him to a less secure facility, for his safety as much as anyone else's," Austin Williams, Ridgeway’s son, told Fox News of the latest defense motion.
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