Casey White, who prompted a nationwide manhunt by escaping an Alabama jail, has been charged with killing the corrections official who helped him escape, although authorities have not claimed he pulled the trigger.

The pair’s disappearance from an Alabama jail in April sparked a manhunt that came to an end in Indiana, where Casey White was captured, and Vicky White was pronounced dead on the scene by a gunshot wound to the head.

On Tuesday, Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly announced that Casey White, 38, was indicted on a murder charge in the shooting death of Vicky White. Authorities had initially said that Vicky White died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, a claim which has yet to be officially contradicted.

The indictment alleges that during the escape, ”White caused the death of Vicky White, who died from a gunshot to the head.” The indictment does not specify who fired the fatal shot.

Casey White’s attorney, Mark McDaniel, said that White will be pleading not guilty at his arraignment hearing. The defense previously pointed blame at Vicky White for the escape, saying Casey White was in her “care and custody” the entire time of his disappearance from jail.

In Alabama, a person commits the crime of murder if they end the life of a person while committing or attempting to commit, or in immediate flight from, specific crimes. The crimes include escape, kidnapping, or “any other felony clearly dangerous to human life.”

Alabama law allows a murder charge if someone, “causes the death of any person” while engaging in certain other felonies such as escape or if the person, “recklessly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to a person.”

In certain states, a person can be charged with murder even if they did not pull the trigger.

A recent example of this is the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. Three people were charged and convicted of the murder of Arbery, although only one fired the fatal shotgun blast.

Travis McMichael fired the shotgun blasts that took Arbery’s life. Investigators said that McMichael’s father Greg McMichael joined him in the pursuit of Arbery and that William “Roddie” Bryan followed while recording a video of the chase. However, all three were charged with felony murder.

In April, Casey White walked out of an Alabama jail in handcuffs in the custody of Vicky White, the assistant director of corrections at the facility, prompting a nationwide manhunt for the pair. On the day of the escape, Vicky White, 56, told co-workers she was transporting the inmate to a mental health evaluation, but authorities later learned no such appointment existed.

Friends and colleagues had said they were bewildered by the involvement of Vicky White, who had worked for the sheriff’s office for 16 years, with the inmate who was already serving a 75-year prison sentence for attempted murder and other crimes.

Before her death was announced, Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said he hoped to get answers from his once trusted jail employee about her actions but acknowledged those answers might not come.

Vicky White’s family members and co-workers said they were stunned by her involvement. Singleton said it appeared the plan had been in the works for some time. Jail inmates said the two had a special relationship and she gave Casey White better treatment than other inmates. 

The escape happened on what Vicky White said was going to be her last day at work. She also did not have a second officer accompany them, which was against jail policy.

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