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Inmate charged with murder of jail official during escape

FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) — A prisoner who prompted a nationwide manhunt when he disappeared this spring from an Alabama jail has been charged with killing the corrections official authorities said helped him escape.

Casey White, 38, has been indicted on a murder charge for the shooting death of Vicky White, Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly announced Tuesday. The pair’s disappearance from an Alabama jail in April sparked a national manhunt that came to a bloody end in Indiana where Casey White was captured and Vicky White died.

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 pulled the trigger. Authorities have said Vicky White died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

White will plead not guilty at an arraignment hearing, defense attorney Mark McDaniel said in a statement. 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.

Casey White in April walked out of an Alabama jail in handcuffs in the custody of Vicky White, the assistant director of corrections at the facility, prompting a national 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.

The two were eventually discovered in Indiana where Casey White was captured. Authorities said Vicky White shot herself in the head.

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.”

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.

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