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LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — The murder trial against Casey White in the 2015 death of Connie Ridgeway won’t happen this year, a Lauderdale County judge has ruled.

White is charged with capital murder for the killing of Ridgeway at her home in Rogersville.

He is also facing a felony murder charge in connection to an 11-day manhunt earlier this year after escaping from a Lauderdale County jail alongside Vicky White, who was the Assistant Director of Corrections for the Lauderdale County Detention Center at the time.

The pair was caught in Evansville, Ind. and Vicky White reportedly died by suicide as authorities were closing in. Under Alabama law, if someone dies during the commission of certain crimes – like first-degree escape – the defendant can be charged for that death.

Casey White arrived at the Lauderdale County Courthouse early Tuesday morning ahead of a scheduled court appearance. Along with the arraignment for Vicky White’s death, several motions were addressed during the hearing.

Casey White appeared in court on Tuesday, October 11, for a scheduled court hearing.

Prosecutors wanted to try Casey White for Vicky White’s death on Dec. 12 but he was set to go on trial for Ridgeway’s death on that date. A Lauderdale County judge ruled to postpone the Ridgeway trial.

News 19’s Brian Lawson says the court has indicated a possible spring date to be set for the Ridgeway trial, and it remained unclear when the felony murder case in the death of former jailer Vicky White will take place.

The final motion of note discussed at the hearing was the prosecution’s request for a gag order. The judge said that the state needed more specific information about their claim that not having a gag order could affect the jury pool.

The prosecution also stated in court that they will not be seeking the death penalty in Ridgeway’s case. District Attorney Christopher Connolly says the decision over whether or not to see the death penalty came after speaking with Ridgeway’s family.

The defense is challenging Alabama’s death penalty law. The death of Connie Ridgeway took place in 2015 before Alabama changed its law in capital murder cases to require that a jury, not a judge, issue the final sentence – death or life in prison without parole. But, because the case is grandfathered in under the old law, a judge would have the final say in the Ridgeway sentencing. The defense says that is unconstitutional and the case should be heard under the current standard.

The defense also argues Alabama’s felony murder law, allowing a defendant to be charged with murder when someone dies in the course of certain crimes, is unconstitutional. It does not require the showing that the defendant intended for that person to die, which is required under all other Alabama murder charges. The defense argues Casey White can’t be held responsible for the suicide of another person.

Casey White was in the Donaldson Correctional Facility in 2020, serving a 75-year sentence for an unrelated attempted murder crime spree, when he allegedly confessed to Ridgeway’s murder. He and Vicky White reportedly developed a relationship that eventually led to his escape. The case drew nationwide attention during the manhunt that ended in Indiana.

Prosecutors Friday filed a request asking the court to impose a gag order in the case, which would bar lawyers on both sides of the case from making any public statements outside the courtroom.

And, there will be no movement of Casey White from Donaldson to the Cullman County Jail. The defense withdrew that request last week, saying the proposed move – which had initially been approved by prosecutors and with the cooperation of the Cullman County Sheriff’s office – is no longer an option. That issue was set to be argued tomorrow.

Reports show that 30 inmates have died at Donaldson so far this year.

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