“I wonder what they are doing right now,” I asked my husband as we were drinking our coffee together last Sunday morning on Mother’s Day.
I wasn’t referring to the (mostly) sweet angels who made me a mom, who were sleeping soundly in their rooms. But to the escaped murderer from Lauderdale County, Casey Cole White, and the corrections officer who helped him, Vicky White (no relation), who at the time, were still on the run.
By then, we had all heard the reports of how Vicky, the well-respected, 56-year-old assistant director of corrections at the Lauderdale County jail, helped the 38-year-old, nearly 7-foot-tall Casey escape from the facility she had worked at for years … and then went on the run with him.
Though they managed to elude capture for 11 days, U.S. Marshals and local law enforcement caught up with them on Tuesday in Evansville, Indiana. And this bizarre tale ended as strangely as it began. There was a high-speed pursuit, which ended with the Whites’ vehicle crashing. Casey jumped out stating his “wife” Vicky (no relation, but not married) had shot herself, and he had nothing to do with it.
He was taken into custody, and she was transported to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Though an autopsy will be performed to confirm the gunshot was self-inflicted, officials on the scene said it appeared that was the case.
Casey told Indiana police he had planned to die by getting in a shoot-out with them, but the crash prevented him from doing so. He will soon be back in the jail where this all started.
Authorities said he showed zero remorse or sadness over Vicky’s demise.
As the Bard once wrote, “These violent delights have violent ends.”
I am not sure why this case really captured my imagination, but I am sure I am not alone.
Perhaps because it seemed like a modern-day Shakespearean tragedy or like it was ripped from a Hollywood script (and it may very well be one someday).
But I think what made this story so compelling is Vicky. By all accounts, she had lived a normal, uneventful life. She had worked in corrections for 17 years and had even earned a position of authority. She was well-liked and respected, and even described as a “mother figure” by her co-workers, who were busy planning her retirement party. I bet some of them already knew what dish they were going to bring to it. They never saw this coming.
One of her neighbors said she was a nice lady who would do anything for you. And when you look at her photo, we believe him because we all know a Vicky White.
When we look at Casey White, a large, scary man covered in White Supremacist prison gang tattoos, most of us don’t know anyone like that. Or anyone who could possibly “fall in love” with someone like that.
You just have to wonder, what moment started this “romance?”
Was it a glance that lasted a little too long? Was it a brush on the arm as she took his handcuffs off one day? Did he tell her how beautiful she was or give her other compliments she had not heard in years? Or ever? Did he write her letters or poetry or tell her she was the only person he has ever wanted to abandon his evil ways for?
What was it?
And when was that moment? The exact one that sent a woman with everything to lose down a dangerous path with a man who had nothing to lose at all — the most dangerous type of person in the world.
Attorneys who have represented Casey White over the years don’t give him much credit. They don’t seem to think he could mastermind something like this. One even said it had to be Vicky who was behind this. Another described him as an “OK guy” when he is in a structured environment and on his meds. But when he isn’t, he self-medicates his mental illness with meth and acts erratic and crazy, he said. No one mentioned him as being a smooth-talking Romeo or being capable of manipulating someone to do the things he wants or the things Vicky White ultimately did.
Which just makes this whole sad tale even stranger.
And now, with Vicky’s death, we may never know what truly happened. This story will only have one narrator, and he isn’t reliable.
I do wonder what she thought life was going to look like after this escape. Did she picture the two of them on the beach somewhere sipping piña coladas? Or in a cabin in the woods, living off the land? Did these fantasies consume her until she finally just broke? Authorities said beyond the escape itself, their plan did not appear to be very well thought out.
And what were those 11 days on the run like? Was it as romantic as she had envisioned? She was spotted shopping in an “adult toy store” just before the escape.
Or was it full of fear, craziness, stress and immediate regret?
Did they just sit there and obsessively watch the coverage? Was she mad they described her as having a “waddling gait?” Did she get tired of them saying they were “not related” in every news story? Or relieved? Because, you know, it is Alabama. Did she cry when she saw the interview with her mother?
And did she really think they could get away with this? She was in law enforcement for so long. She had to know this almost always ends in the way it did. Maybe she knew all along she would take her own life … if it came down to it and there was no way out.
And maybe she didn’t care. Maybe the thought of just living one more day of the same old boring, lonely life she had been was more terrifying than running off with a career criminal and accused murderer and in her mind, worth all of the risks associated with that choice. Maybe she really thought she was in love. Or maybe she just wanted excitement in her life or to have her “Thelma and Louise” moment. If she did, she got it. But she paid the ultimate price.
So many maybes. And so many questions that will never be answered.
But some things are now certain too.
No innocent bystanders or law enforcement officials were killed or seriously injured during this whole sad saga.
A man accused of stabbing a woman to death is back behind bars where he belongs.
And a woman who thought she was in love and dreamed of living a vastly different life in a locale far, far away from Lauderdale County, Alabama, will never breathe another breath.
A glooming peace this morning with it brings.
The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head.
Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things.
Some shall be pardoned, and some punishèd.
For never was a story of more woe
Than this of (this Alabama) Juliet and her Romeo.
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