FIRST ON FOX: The former Alabama prison escapee and murder suspect Casey White’s request to be transferred from state prison to another county jail faces a new hurdle after prosecutors asked the court for a hearing on what had been an unopposed motion.
Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly filed a motion Monday questioning whether the transfer would really be necessary.
“Sheriff Gentry is willing to assist the State and the Court if necessary; however, it appears that there may have been a miscommunication between the Sheriff and defense counsel regarding the necessity for the Defendant to be housed in Cullman County,” Connolly wrote.
He added that he had spoken with state officials who told him that prison authorities ensured him that all the defense counsel’s requests for access to White had been accommodated.
“Based on the foregoing, the State moves the court to set this matter for a hearing regarding the above-referenced motion to determine whether it is necessary to house Defendant in the Cullman County Jail pending the trial of this matter,” Connolly concluded.
The district attorney told Fox News Digital Monday he had no comment beyond what was written in his filing.
Gentry’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital Monday.
In a statement to local media Friday, Gentry said he had been misquoted in the defense motion, which states “he is ready and willing to house Mr. White.”
“This quote is not correct, as it makes it appear that we are eagerly seeking to house Mr. White,” he told the Huntsville-based WAFF-TV. “As I told Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton, and the Casey White legal team when we spoke, if the judge in the case ordered Mr. White be housed in the Cullman County Detention Center, my deputies, my command staff and I will make sure Mr. White is well guarded. He will be kept in solitary confinement 23 hours a day, only being allowed 1 hour in the exercise yard while still under guard, as mandated by law.”
White, who allegedly escaped a Lauderdale County jail with the help of now-deceased prison official Vicky White, no relation, was recaptured in Indiana after 11 days on the run. He is currently being housed at the William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility in Jefferson County, but his defense team, which includes the Huntsville-based attorney Mark McDaniel, wants to have him housed at the Cullman County Detention Center, which is about half as far away as the state prison.
McDaniel did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
White was already serving a 75-year prison sentence when he was transferred from Donaldson to the Lauderdale County Detention Center in Florence to stand trial there on unrelated murder charges in the death of Ridgeway, 58, a killing to which authorities say he confessed in 2020 before pleading not guilty by reason of insanity.
Several inmates have escaped the Cullman jail in recent years, raising concern for a relative of White’s alleged victim.
“For obvious reasons, we’re very opposed to moving him to a less secure facility, for his safety as much as anyone else’s,” Austin Williams, Ridgeway’s son, told Fox News Digital on Friday.
He previously told Fox News Digital that he had no idea White had been transferred to Lauderdale before the May escape and is pushing for a new law that would require authorities to inform victims’ families whenever an inmate is moved to a new facility.
White could face the death penalty if convicted of killing Ridgeway. The trial is scheduled to begin on Dec. 12.
In May, the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office announced the capture of Adam Nicholas Ryan Baldwin, 35, who escaped the local jail in April after petitioning for a temporary release to attend a family funeral.
A year prior, the sheriff’s office also captured inmate Andrea Shepherd, 25, who was assigned to a work release program and “walked away from the local business where she was employed.”
In March 2021, Cullman County officials caught convicted murderer Leo Chavez, the last of four inmates who escaped from the prison in March 2021. He had killed his own parents.
Fox News’ Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.