Indiana teen accused of killing young siblings to ‘free them from some sort of hell’ found competent to stand trial

Indiana teen accused of killing young siblings to ‘free them from some sort of hell’ found competent to stand trial
Nickalas Kedrowitz, 15, was found competent to stand trial and will be tried as an adult in the double murder case of his two young siblings Desiree McCartney, 23 months, and Nathaniel Ritz, 11 months. (Source: FOX19)

OSGOOD, Ind. (FOX19) - A Ripley County teenager accused of killing his nearly-2-year-old sister Desiree McCartney and his 11-month-old stepbrother Nathaniel Ritz was found competent to stand trial.

Nickalas J. Kedrowitz, now 15 years old, will be tried as an adult. He was 13 years old when Ripley County Prosecutor Ric Hertel say he killed his two young siblings.

Both children died of suffocation in the family’s Osgood home, officials ruled. 23-month-old Desiree died May 6, 2017 at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Nathaniel died 81 days later July 21, 2017.

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A Ripley County judge found Kedrowitz competent to stand trial Aug. 30. His double-murder trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 18.

Kedrowitz was arrested in August 2018 for the death of his siblings and charged with two counts of murder.

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In September 2018, Kedrowitz and Desiree’s mother and Nathaniel’s stepmother Christina McCartney defended her teenage son and insisted he didn’t act alone.

“He’s not the monster that people are trying to portray him as. It’s a mother’s worst nightmare to have such a precious family and then to wake up to the worst possible outcomes,” said McCartney.

She says her 15-year-old son adored his half sister and step brother.

“Every mom’s dream child. He would sing to them read them books. I didn’t have to ask him to help with the kids he would just do it,” said McCartney.

She says May 1, 2017 she came home to find her daughter lifeless. McCartney says her son told her something was wrong and that Desiree ‘wasn’t breathing right.’

Officials say after Ritz’s death the teen confessed.

“There were several remarks that were made to police about freeing the siblings from some sort of hell,” said Hertel.

McCartney says her teenage son was referring to his abusive stepdad who was living in the home with them.

"He witnessed him being mean to the babies. That he pushed them down on purpose. He would lock them up in the bedroom to try to shut them up. He painted a pretty bad picture. As a mom that's hard to swallow that was going on and I didn't know." McCartney said.

She says she doesn't believe her son acted alone.

McCartney says her boyfriend didn't like the responsibilities of fatherhood and she believes her son was forced to kill his siblings.

"He did it under threat. He was told that if didn't do that he was being told he would be killed and that Stephen would kill me," said McCartney.

She says true justice would be seeing her ex-boyfriend behind bars as well.

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