Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Benjamin Donnie RITCHIE





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery - To avoid arrest
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: September 29, 2000
Date of arrest: Next day
Date of birth: May 30, 1980
Victim profile: William Toney, 32 (Beech Grove Police Officer)
Method of murder: Shooting (.9 mm Glock handgun)
Location: Beech Grove, Indiana, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on October 15, 2002

The Indiana Supreme Court

opinion 49S00-0409-PD-420



DOB: 05-30-80
#967072 White Male

Marion County Superior Court
Judge Patricia J. Gifford

Cause #: 49G04-0010-CF-172900

Prosecutor: Scott C. Newman, Joel D. Hand

Defense: Kevin M. McShane, Jack Crawford

Date of Murder: September 29, 2000

Victim(s): William Toney W / M / 32 (Beech Grove Police Officer - No relationship to Ritchie)

Method of Murder: Shooting with .9 mm handgun

Summary: 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.

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



Benjamin D. Ritchie



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