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Thread: Benjamin Ritchie - Indiana Death Row

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Benjamin Ritchie - Indiana Death Row

    Police Officer William Ronald Toney
    Beech Grove Police Department

    Benjamin Ritchie

    Summary of Offense:

    While on routine patrol, Beech Grove police officer Matthew Hickey noticed a white van matching the description of a van stolen earlier in the evening. Officer Hickey followed the white van, which accelerated at a high rate of speed. Officer Hickey gave chase and was joined by Officer William Toney and Sergeant Robert Mercuri, each driving separate marked police cars. The vehicular chase ended when the driver, Benjamin Ritchie, wrecked the van, then fled on foot. The passenger, Michael Greer, fell from the van and also ran. Officer Hickey chased Greer on foot and caught up to him a short distance away. Officer Toney chased Ritchie on foot through several yards and into the backyard of 717 Fletcher Avenue, where he was shot five times with a 9-mm Glock handgun. One of the four bullets Ritchie fired missed Officer Toney’s bulletproof vest by an inch, cut through an artery, punctured his lung and lodged itself in his vertebrae. Ritchie ditched a wig and the handgun in shrubbery nearby and eventually made his way to the home of a friend, where he was arrested the next morning. While in jail, Ritchie was interviewed by four local television reporters. During all four interviews, Ritchie both claimed to be very sorry for what he had done and for the death of Officer Toney, but that he had not fired the fatal shot. Rather, Ritchie claimed that he dropped his weapon and that he heard it go off as he ran away.

    At sentencing, the victim's wife was reading her victim impact statement when Ritchie repeatedly interrupted her, laughed and called her a "bitch" when she declared him a coward. The victim statement was given in the presence of Ritchie after sentencing in accordance with a new statute which was enacted in 2002 despite warnings that such outbursts would become commonplace from defendants with nothing to lose after being sentenced to death.

    Trial: Information/PC for Murder filed (10-04-00); Gag Order entered (10-10-00); Amended Information for DP filed (11-01-00); Guilty Plea to Poss Firearm (07-31-02); Voir Dire (07-31-02, 08-01-02, 08-02-02, 08-05-02); Jury Trial (08-05-02, 08-06-02, 08-07-02, 08-08-02, 08-09-02, 08-10-02); Verdict (08-10-02); DP Trial (08-12-02, 08-13-02, 08-14-02); Verdict (08-14-02); Court Sentencing (10-15-02).

    Conviction: Murder, Possession of a Firearm by a Serious Violent Felon, Auto Theft, Resisting Law Enforcement, Resisting Law Enforcement, Carrying Handgun Without License.

    Sentencing: October 15, 2002 (Death Sentence, 20 years, 3 years, 3 years, 1 year, Merged - all concurrent)

    Aggravating Circumstances:
    b (6) Victim was law enforcement officer
    b (9) On probation or parole

    Mitigating Circumstances:
    Defendant's youthful age
    Unstable family
    Diagnosis of Cognitive Disorder N.O.S.
    Low I.Q.
    Abused, head injuries as a child
    Mother abused drugs and alcohol during pregnancy
    True natural father unknown
    Meager economic status

  2. #2
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    On April 18, 2008, Ritchie filed a habeas petition in Federal District Court.


  3. #3
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    On April 29, 2015, Ritchie filed an appeal before the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit over the apparent denial of his habeas petition in Federal District Court.


  4. #4
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    In today's orders, the United States Supreme Court declined to review Ritchie's petition for certiorari.

    Lower Ct: United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
    Case Nos.: (15-1925)
    Decision Date: February 24, 2016
    Rehearing Denied: July 7, 2016


  5. #5
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Widow of Beech Grove police officer upset killer on death row gets TV exposure

    By Rich Nye

    INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana has ten men on death row at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City. Some of those convicted killers are featured in a documentary about Indiana's death row that airs on ITV in the United Kingdom February 1.

    Repeated television exposure upsets the widow of fallen Beech Grove police officer Bill Toney.

    Dee Dee Horen was recently informed that her late husband's killer is going to be on TV again. She wants people to see the other side of death row, the side of the victim's family that has survived and thrived despite tragedy.

    "It angers me, because he's still sitting there, and I know that his case is still sitting on a judge's desk somewhere," said Horen. "He doesn't have a date that I'm aware of. I don't sit around and think about, 'I can't wait until the day when Benjamin Ritchie is put to death.' I don't give him my time for that."

    Horen is upset that ITV will air a follow-up program Thursday in the United Kingdom to a documentary that aired five years ago and featured the man who killed her husband.

    "Gosh, there's so much more to this story. Why does this story have to keep going back to him? There's a family that survived this tragedy," she said.

    Over 17 years have passed since Officer Toney was shot and killed during a foot pursuit of Ritchie. The officer was shot in the neck.

    His daughters were just four and 18 months old when he died. Now both in college, Jess and Emily Toney have limited memories of their father.

    "I thought by the time that the girls were old enough to start asking questions, I could say, 'The man that killed your dad was executed 10 years ago, five years ago.' Now I have to explain it to my 12-year-old son," said Horen.

    Dee Dee married a family friend, Ryan Horen, who knew Bill. Dee Dee and Ryan have been married 15 years with a 12-year-old son together, Rylan.

    "Somebody stepped up when Benjamin Ritchie took my girls' dad and my husband," said Dee Dee. "Somebody else stood up and took on the responsibility of us."

    Dee Dee remains close to Bill's family and they honor his memory with an annual cornhole tournament.

    Meanwhile, his killer has exhausted his appeals while living on death row over 15 years.

    "As a Christian, I have forgiven him," Dee Dee said. "It's not going to do me any good whatsoever to go and watch a man die. But I do want justice for him. I do believe in the death penalty. I do believe he deserves the death penalty."

    Ritchie's eventual execution will bring Dee Dee no joy.

    "I'm going to get a…" Dee took a deep sigh. "It's over. It's done. There's justice for Bill and my daughters. Bill's mom, little sister and brothers don't have to see his face again or hear about him again."

    Dee Dee admits she will probably watch the new documentary eventually, but she does not believe inmates on death row should be allowed to give media interviews.

    Indiana last carried out the death penalty by lethal injection in 2009. The execution of Matthew Eric Wrinkles came 14 years after his sentencing.

    The Indiana Supreme Court denied Ritchie's appeal in 2014. The U.S. Supreme Court denied his appeal in April 2017. The Indiana Department of Correction says Ritchie has exhausted his appeals. The Indiana Supreme Court must issue the execution order.

    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  6. #6
    Moderator Ryan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Newport, United Kingdom
    If all state and federal courts and the US Supreme Court have denied all his appeals then we may see a potential Indiana execution in the fall of 2018. If the drugs are available by compounding pharmacies then the judge assigned could sign his death warrant soon.

  7. #7
    Senior Member CnCP Legend Mike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Three people have had all their appeals denied and we haven't seen Indiana take any steps towards executing them.
    Last edited by Mike; 02-01-2018 at 10:21 AM.

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