Judge denies request for third mistrial for father charged in so - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Judge denies request for third mistrial for father charged in son's scalding death

Robert Ritchie and his son, Austin. (Provided) Robert Ritchie and his son, Austin. (Provided)
Anna Ritchie (FOX19 NOW/file) Anna Ritchie (FOX19 NOW/file)

A Warren County judge denied a defense request Tuesday for a third mistrial in the case of the father on trial in his 4-year-old son's scalding death.

Robert Ritchie is charged with involuntary manslaughter and child endangering in connection with the March 2016 death of Austin Cooper

His wife, Anna Ritchie, 25, is serving 18 years to life after pleading guilty in September.

Warren County Prosecutor Dave Fornshell has said she put the child in 135-degree water and held him there for 20-25 minutes, causing his eventual death, because she resented becoming his primary caregiver. Then she she put the boy to bed.

Prosecutors said Ritchie knew about his son was badly burned but didn't check on him for 15 hours. He was found dead the next morning.

Fornshell has said the boy would have lived had he received medical treatment.

Ritchie's first two trials ended in mistrials.

The first jury was hung, and Ritchie became sick in court during his second trial in March.

Now his defense attorney, Frank Schiavone, says the court reporter who typed up the transcripts from the second trial mixed up testimony of one of the lead Franklin police investigators with testimony from an EMT.

The error came out Monday, he said, when the police lieutenant, Gerald Massey, testified on the first trial of the third trial.

"The transcript was wrong. He was the second police officer on the scene," Schiavone said. "That's a very, very important witness."

Shiavone said the court reporter actually realized the mistake a few weeks ago, when the state ordered transcripts.

"She indicated yesterday she might have told the prosecutors about the mistake and not us," Schiavone said. "We believe the court reporter had known about this roughly on Aug. 1 and might have told the prosecutors about it and didn't tell anyone else about it until the cross examination was done, about 30 minutes later.

"We believe at this point, the prejudicial effect of this is devastating to my client. How does the jury un-hear everything that was done? We actually still to this day don't believe we have the right transcripts."

County prosecutors and the court reporter could not be immediately reached for comment before court Tuesday

Ritchie remains free on his own recognizance, Schiavone said.

He is working in a management position at a retail store, but he has a hellish existence.

"It's a nightmare. He can't move on. He struggles everyday," Schiavone said. "Those are the emotions of an innocent man who is trying to grieve and can't move on and has to relive that night everyday.

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