Defense attorneys have entered a not-guilty plea for an OH murder suspect accused of putting her 4-year-old stepson in scalding water as punishment the day before he was found dead.
If Ritchie is convicted on the murder charge, she faces 15 years to life imprisonment.
“Just to be in that tub for a minute or two would have to be the most excruciating pain you could go through”, Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell says.
Ritchie could post 10 percent.
Ritchie, who has been held in the Warren County Jail in lieu of a $350,000 bond since the child’s death, will be arraigned for the first time on the murder and manslaughter at 9:30 today by Judge Robert Peeler.
Authorities said the 4-year-old boy was placed in a bathtub filled with 135-degree water and held down for at least 20 minutes. Ritchie III now is facing no charges.
Anna Ritchie, 25, pleaded not guilty this week to six counts including murder, involuntary murder, felonious assault and endangering a child.
“This was a completely treatable injury”.
Austin Cooper was four years old. But they allege that Ritchie did not seek medical treatment, and instead placed him in pajamas and socks and put him to bed.
“Anna Ritchie is pure evil”, Sheri Gredig, Cooper’s grandmother, told WCPO.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that he sobbed into the phone to the police dispatcher: “I think my son died”.
“That’s the most horrific part of it”, Fornshell said.
Last week, Robert Ritchie III called 911 after waking up to find that his son, Austin Derreck Cooper, wasn’t breathing.
Ritchie’s attorney declined to comment on the case.
The cause of death was found to be second- and third-degree burns on his leg, inflicted when his stepmother punished Austin by putting his legs into hot water, said Warren County Coroner’s Chief Investigator Doyle Burke.
The prosecutor said Ritchie and Austin’s father, Robert Ritchie, became the child’s custodial parents in January, and Anna resented being a primary caregiver.