A Franklin, Ohio, woman placed her 4-year-old stepson in a scalding bath and the boy’s father did nothing as he slowly died from his injuries.
WCPO reported Tuesday that a judge sentenced the child’s father, Robert Ritchie, 32, to seven years in prison for Austin Cooper’s death. Prosecutors said Ritchie failed to get medical help for Cooper—which could’ve saved his life.
The stepmother, Anna Ritchie, is serving 18 years to life after pleading guilty to murder, involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault and endangering children charges. Prosecutor David Fornshell said Anna had placed the 4-year-old in 135-degree water and held him there for 20-25 minutes in March 2016 because she was angry about being the primary caregiver, according to WXIX.
The Associated Press reports that Robert had come home shortly after the unthinkable crime was committed and didn’t attend to his son, who was suffering from peeling leg burns.
“The question that kept me awake at night is: why did you not check on this little boy, your son, Austin, as he lay there for 14 hours while you sat in there and watched television?” Judge Robert Peeler asked, noting that he never saw the father show any remorse.
Following three trials, the father was convicted on August 25 of child endangering and involuntary manslaughter, according to the local station. Defense attorney Frank Schiavone III, who had pushed for probation unsuccessfully argued that Robert had “married a murderer” and that Austin was dead when Cooper placed him in his crib. Schiavone said Cooper constructed a “mass coverup” in which she put socks on the 4-year-old and covered up the boy to hide him from Robert.
“There is nothing Robert Ritchie could have done to save the child, based on Anna Ritchie’s testimony,” Schiavone said. “The child was already in heaven.”
Schiavone said they plan to appeal Tuesday’s ruling.
[Featured Image: WXIX]