Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Jury in Lambert case needs more time

Petersburg man charged in Rebecca Ritchie death

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BURLINGTON - Jurors deliberated four hours before adjourning for the night Tuesday in the case of a Petersburg man charged with killing 22-year-old Rebecca Ritchie.

Richard Lambert, 26, is charged with murder, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

During the four-day trial, Lambert took the stand and admitted to the 2001 killing, but said it was in self-defense. Lambert said he dumped the body in the Ohio River. He said Ritchie was trying to steal cash and jewelry from his Petersburg home. She attacked him, Lambert told the jury, with part of a tire jack she picked up in his garage when he tried to stop her.

Commonwealth's Attorney Linda Tally Smith said this version of events was just the latest story from Lambert. Smith says Lambert killed Ritchie in the late evening or early morning of Feb. 26-27, 2001.

Police found the body on April 11 of that year beneath pilings near the boat dock.

Lambert's father, Rick Lambert, testified last week that 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 said a woman tried to rip him off so he chased her, punched her and strangled her.

Prosecutors say after the attack, Lambert put the body in the back of his pickup, drove to a boat ramp near his home, and dumped it.


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