【AL】 Casey White should not be charged in Vicki White’s death, attorneys say – Alabama News

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Casey White should not be charged with felony murder in the death of Vicki White because the law is unconstitutional, his lawyers argue in a court filing.

Authorities in Indiana, where Casey White in May was captured after an 11-day manhunt, said Vicki White – the jail officer who authorities say facilitated Casey White’s escape – took her own life with a gunshot to her head as police closed in.

  • Full coverage of the search for Casey White and Vicki White

Under Alabama law, White has been charged with felony murder because a death occurred while he was committing a felony. A Lauderdale County grand jury indicted White on the charge in June.

Casey White and Vicki White are not related.

The indictment charges Casey White with first-degree escape “and in the course and furtherance of committing escape in the first degree, caused the death of Vicky White, who died from a gunshot wound to the head.”

Casey White’s team of attorneys said in the motion said police video of the capture is clear that Vicki White took her own life.

“Police dash cam and body cam recordings clearly show that at the conclusion of a car chase, the vehicle driven by White wrecked and rolled over in a roadside ditch or median,” the motion said. “Video clearly shows that the deceased shot herself in the head and continued holding the gun in her hand as police approached. The death in this case was clearly a suicide and the defendant can not be convicted for the death.”

The defense motion said the law is outdated.

“Alabama’s felony-murder doctrine is an anachronistic remnant of ancient legal fiction with no logical or practical basis for inclusion in modern law,” the defense motion said. “England, where the doctrine originated, abolished the felony-murder rule in 1957. The United States and Alabama remain virtually the only Western governments still recognizing a doctrine which makes it possible for a citizen accused to face the most serious sanctions in the law for an accidental death in which they did not directly participate or cause.”

White is serving a 75-year prison sentence for a 2015 crime spree and faces a capital murder trial in December in the 2015 slaying of Connie Ridgeway of Rogersville. No trial date has been set in the felony murder case.

The defense motion also argued that the U.S. Supreme Court has found issue with the concept of charging felony murder.

“Long-standing Unites States Supreme Court decisions, applied to the felony-murder doctrine, demonstrate the injustice of imposing punishment for a homicide without a specific finding of culpability and suggest that the doctrine’s continued use violates fundamental constitutional principles,” the defense motion said.

The motion argued as well that “Alabama’s murder statute requires that in order to be guilty of murder, the actor must have intentionally caused the death of another. Again, the application of the felony-murder doctrine requires an unconstitutional presumption of intent to murder.”

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