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State Files Gag Order, Defends Murder Charge in Casey White Case

FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) — Prosecutors filed two motions on Friday that could have a major impact on the two murder cases Casey White is facing.

The first was the state of Alabama’s response to a motion to declare the doctrine of criminal murder unconstitutional and another involving prosecutors seeking a gag order that argues it is necessary to avoid tainting the group of jurors.

Court records show the state cited “excessive local, state and national media coverage” and a “potential to taint the jury panel” as reasons for the gag order.

If approved, a gag order would prevent White’s representatives, victim representatives, attorneys and law enforcement involved in the prosecution “from making any out-of-court statements to the media regarding this matter.”

The filing continued, “This motion is made in the interests of justice and in the interests of … being able to select an impartial jury to hear this matter.”

The defense has asked the court to declare Alabama’s criminal murder doctrine unconstitutional, prosecutors said Friday the motion should be dismissed.

White is charged with murder in the death of Vicky White. He was charged under a law which states that if someone dies while the accused is engaged in certain crimes – such as 1st degree criminal escape, the accused can be held responsible for that death.

The state cited four reasons for denying the motion, arguing that Casey White was “charged with felony murder…for causing the death of Vicky White during and following the commission of the crime of first-degree escape.”

They also argued that “the statute in question is not unconstitutional and should not be construed as such by the court” and the specific application of the legislature to the “crime of first-degree escape”.

The state also said that “the defendant’s motion is procedurally inadmissible in that it does not appear to have been served on the Attorney General of Alabama.”

The defense says Vicky White died by suicide and Casey White cannot be held legally responsible. They also argued that Alabama law in murder cases requires proof of intent, and that in murder cases, a jury must determine that the victim did not die by accident or suicide.

Both filings were signed by Chris Connolly, the Lauderdale County District Attorney.

White faces charges of capital murder, felony murder and first-degree escape stemming from two separate incidents. The first being the murder of Connie Ridgeway in 2015, and the second being her nationally recognized escape from the Lauderdale County Jail with the help of Vicky White, a former correctional officer from the prison.

Casey White and Vicky White were captured in a car chase 11 days after their escape in Evansville, Indiana. Vicky died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after the chase, and Casey was apprehended by local law enforcement.

White is due in court Oct. 11 for an arraignment and status hearing.