Child porn convict hatched plot to beat up NKY judge, attorney with baseball bat

The man and his father conspired to commit the assault with a third inmate in exchange for that inmate’s release.
Preston Ritter was arrested by Kenton County police Friday on child porn charges.
Preston Ritter was arrested by Kenton County police Friday on child porn charges.(Kenton County Police Department)
Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 8:44 PM EDT
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KENTON COUNTY, Ky. (FOX19) - A Kenton County man pleaded guilty Wednesday in a case where prosecutors say he and his father plotted to assault a lawyer and a judge.

Elsmere police arrested Preston Ritter Jr. in June 2020 on 45 counts related to child pornography.

While Ritter Jr. was in jail, Preston Ritter Sr. allegedly called the Kenton County police detective who investigated his son and left threatening voicemail messages, prompting his arrest.

Ritter Sr. then conspired with an inmate in jail to have his son, who was out on bail, post the inmate’s bond in exchange for the inmate assaulting Kenton County District Court Judge Douglas Grothaus and attorney Darryl Cox with a baseball bat, according to prosecutors.

The father and son planned a piece of the attack during several jail calls which were recorded, police say.

Per court documents, when police asked if the intention was to kill the targets, the inmate said: “Nobody specifically mentioned killing anyone, but that could happen with a baseball bat.”

In court, Ritter Jr. admitted to going to post the inmate’s bond to carry out the assault plot, but he underestimated the bond amount and didn’t bring enough money.

He was subsequently re-arrested.

Ritter Jr. pleaded guilty Wednesday on two counts each of retaliating against a participant of the legal process and conspiracy to commit assault.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Emily Arnzen recommended he be sentenced to five years in prison, which he would serve after a previously imposed sentence of 10 years for the child porn conviction.

Ritter Jr.’s formal sentencing will take place Nov. 14.

“The justice system won’t work if participants don’t feel safe,” Arnzen said. “And that includes judges, and even defense attorneys!”

Arnzen noted it isn’t uncommon for witnesses to be threatened but that threats against judges and lawyers are more uncommon.

“We take threats to the justice system very seriously no matter who the victim is and those who attempt to bully their way to a desired outcome will always end up in prison!” She said.

Ritter Sr. faces 20 years in prison if convicted on all charges. The charges remain pending as the court tries to find him a new attorney after his previous two attorneys withdrew.