Franklin father to be re-tried in son’s scalding death

Prosecutors said today they would retry Robert Ritchie on the same charges of felony child endangering and involuntary manslaughter. A jury failed to reach a verdict in Ritchie’s first trial earlier this month. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Prosecutors said today they would retry Robert Ritchie on the same charges of felony child endangering and involuntary manslaughter. A jury failed to reach a verdict in Ritchie’s first trial earlier this month. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

A Franklin father charged in connection with his 4-year-old son's scalding death will face another jury after on charges of felony child endangering and involuntary manslaughter.

Robert Ritchie, 31, was back in Warren County Common Pleas Court today to learn if prosecutors would retry him after a jury failed to reach a verdict in his first trial earlier this month.

Prosecutors told Judge Robert Peeler they would retry Ritchie on the same charges. Defense attorney Frank Schiavone III requested the new trial be set for January, but a date that soon was not available. Tentative dates of March 6 or April 3 have been chosen

Ritchie, who had been behind bars since May, was released on his own recognizance on Dec. 2 when a mistrial was declared. He appeared with his parents in court, but they all declined comment.

He is accused of not seeking medical treatment for his son Austin, who in March was held in a bathtub of scalding water by his stepmother, Anna Ritchie.

“We look forward,” said Schiavone III after the five-minute hearing. “We expect the evidence will be much the same as we have already seen.”

Prosecutors say Ritchie did not check on his son for 15 hours after learning he had been burned severely by Anna Ritchie.

“We owe it to that boy (Austin) to retry this case,” Warren County Prosecutors David Fornshell said. “Under the circumstance of the allegations, it warrants another jury the chance to come to a decision.”

After four days of testimony and seven hours of deliberation, the jury of six women and six men, told the judge they were hopelessly hung and could not reach a decision.

After talking with the jurors, Schiavone III said the split of the jury was six to acquit and six to convict.