Saturday, October 18, 2003

Father testifies against his son



By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BURLINGTON - The trial of a Petersburg man accused of killing 22-year-old Rebecca Ritchie will reconvene Monday.

During the first three days of testimony, which ended Friday evening, prosecutors methodically explained their case to a Boone County jury.

It included hearing from the father of the accused.

Rick Lambert took the stand this week to testify that his son told him he had killed a woman.

The son, 26-year-old Richard Lambert, is charged with murder, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse.

Boone County Commonwealth Attorney Linda Tally Smith says Lambert killed Ritchie in the late evening or early morning of Feb. 26-27, 2001. Police found her decomposing body on April 11 of that year beneath some pilings near the boat dock where Lambert allegedly said he tossed her body.

The elder Lambert said his son came to him the day after the killing and said he had gone to Covington to buy drugs. The father said his son confided in him that a woman tried to rip him off so he chased her down, punched her and strangled her.

The story is similar to what Lambert reportedly told his ex-girlfriend.

Prosecutors say after the deadly attack, Lambert placed Ritchie in the back of his pickup and drove to a boat ramp near his home in Petersburg. There, he dumped the body in the river.

Lambert continues to deny he killed her and has given several scenarios to explain her death. Two of those stories have implicated his ex-girlfriend.

Yet another defense theory was that Lambert may have hit a homeless person while driving drunk.

The trial is expected to continue into the middle of next week.

E-mail jhannah@enquirer.com




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