Captured Ala. inmate's lawyers want capital murder confession thrown out

Casey White's attorneys filed a motion asking for the county to state if they intend to pursue the death penalty

By Paul Gattis

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The judge presiding over the capital murder case of Casey Cole White, recaptured last month after escaping from Lauderdale County jail with assistance from a corrections officer, has agreed to hear oral arguments on a defense effort to throw out his confession in the murder case.

The hearing will also include the topic of a defense request to move the trial away from Florence due to publicity generated by the nationwide manhunt for White after his escape.

Lauderdale County Circuit Judge Benjamin Graves set the hearing for Dec. 2 – just 10 days before the trial is set to begin on Dec. 12. The trial was previously scheduled to begin June 13 but was pushed to December after White hired a new team of lawyers last month.

White, already serving a 75-year prison term following a 2015 multi-state crime spree, has been charged in the 2015 death of Connie Ridgeway of Rogersville in eastern Lauderdale County. Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly said when White was charged in 2020, he confessed to the murder.

[RELATED: Lawyers reveal potential defense in captured Ala. inmate's case]

The arrest came, Connolly said at the time, after an investigator with the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office received a letter in June 2020 from White.

During an interview at the prison, White confessed to the crime, and his statements matched certain evidence at the scene that was not released to the public.

The arrest came after the case was presented to a grand jury. White indicated he was paid to kill Ridgeway.

Connolly has dismissed suggestions that Casey White made a false confession, using information supplied by Vicky White, in order to be sent back to Lauderdale County from Donaldson prison.

[RELATED: A look inside the manhunt for captured Ala. inmate and corrections officer]

White’s new lawyers, led by Huntsville attorney Mark McDaniel, is seeking to suppress that confession.

White’s attorneys have also filed a motion asking for the Connolly’s office to state if they intend to pursue the death penalty. The judge granted that motion. Connolly has said he will respond to the issue of the death penalty in court filings.

On the escape charge, White has a preliminary hearing scheduled for June 24 at which Lauderdale County District Judge Carole Medley will determine if the case should be presented to a grand jury for indictment.

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