Lawyer Worries if Escaped Inmate Is Off His Meds

The former lawyer for Casey White, who pulled off a spectacular escape with his jailer Vicky White from the Lauderdale County Jail in Alabama last week, is concerned about his one-time client’s state of mind. Dale Bryant, who was White’s public defender in his appeal against 2019 convictions for a slew of violent crimes, told local news outlets that in his mind White could be drawn into a firefight with police if he is not on his meds. “When Casey is on his medication and in jail in a structured environment, Casey’s an alright guy,’’ Bryant told without disclosing his mental illness diagnosis. “You’d never know he was a danger because he’s medicated and in a structured environment.”

When he is not—as was apparently the case when he tried to kill an ex-girlfriend, took three people hostage, and fatally shot a dog—anything could happen. “When he’s off his medication, he usually self-medicates through drugs, usually methamphetamine, and that’s when things become a problem,’’ Bryant said. “Because even if you don’t have a mental illness and you’re on methamphetamine, you become paranoid, irrational, impulsive, and if you take someone with mental illness, it just exacerbates that.” Bryant said that Casey—who authorities have said has white-supremacist tattoos—previously expressed little will to live.

“Casey wanted to die,” Bryant said, referring to his 2015 crime spree. “He was trying to get the officers to shoot him, and that is kind of my fear, how this situation is going to end. Except for this time, I’m afraid that Casey may try to shoot them to try and get them to shoot him. I want to say in his interview after his arrest and in my conversations with him, he wanted to die that day.” White disappeared with Vicky White (no relation) under the guise of a mental-health evaluation on April 29. Ms. White was then spotted at a Quality Inn motel not far from where she ditched her patrol car at a shopping mall in Florence, Alabama. Mr. White—who would be hard to not notice at 6 foot 9 inches and 330 pounds—was not seen on the video surveillance, but is presumed to be with her.

The local sheriff described the relationship between the two as a “jailhouse romance” that began with chats through the bars and progressed to the jailer making sure the inmate had extra food on his tray. It is unclear to what extent the two had romantic interludes in the jail, though the local sheriff said their relationship was “not physical.” White was incarcerated facing charges that he fatally stabbed a 58-year-old woman named Connie Ridgeway during the crime spree that Bryant defended him for—and for which he was already sentenced to 75 years in the state penitentiary. His jailer had previously not had any run-ins with law enforcement before allegedly breaking with protocol to help her jailhouse boyfriend escape after a 17-year stint at the Alabama jail. The caper occurred on the day she planned her retirement, and would have presumably coincided with the last day she had access to prisoners or the cell keys.

It is suspected that she masterminded the escape and handled the logistical details, which included selling her house for $90,000 and buying an AR-15 assault rifle and a shotgun, according to Lauderdale police. “Casey’s not a planner. He’s more an impulsive kind of guy,” Bryant told several local news outlets. “You can even look at all of his prior criminal acts—none of those were planned. They were all spur of the moment. He’s just reacting to things. The planning of this escape was far too thorough and too far-thinking, and that is not Casey’s MO.”