Tonight on Dateline NBC, “Twisted,” the story of Tracey Ann Richter, will be investigated. In the episode, there are interviews with Richter as well as with her son Bit Pitman and more.
Richter shot and killed Dustin Wehde on December 13, 2001 after discharging nine bullets from two weapons. She maintains that she shot Wehde to protect herself and her three children who were home with her at the time.
Richter was not charged in the killing until 2011, when evidence including new testimony from a former friend implicated Richter.
Read on to learn more about where Richter is now.
Richter Was Sentenced to Life in Prison in 2011
— Dateline NBC (@DatelineNBC) August 14, 2020
In the 2011 trial, Richter and the defense claimed that she shot 20-year-old Wehde when he and another man broke in and strangled her. After the shooting, according to The Courier, Richter appeared on national TV talking about killing Wehde in order to protect herself and her three children.
The prosecution, however, said that Richter made up that story as a plot to frame her ex-husband and shot Wehde to keep him quiet. The jurors agreed with the prosecution, finding her guilty of first-degree murder.
The verdict carried a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole in Iowa. According to the Iowa Department of Corrections, Richter is currently located at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women.
Richter’s Appeal Was Turned Down
— Dateline NBC (@DatelineNBC) August 13, 2020
In 2017, The Iowa Court of Appeals upheld Richter’s murder sentence. The appeal claimed that her attorney botched her defense on multiple issues, including a misplaced dot depicting the shooting on a trial exhibit.
The Iowa Court of Appeals ruled that the evidence overwhelmingly shows that Richter committed the murder and there is no merit to her allegations that the mistakes by her attorney hurt her case.
Judge Amanda Potterfield said that prosecutors offered proof to support their theory that Richter killed Wehde as part of a hoax to frame her ex-husband.
According to the prosecution, Wehde was the son of Richter’s real estate agent and once he got to Richter’s house, she forced him to write in a pink spiral notebook that he’d been hired by her ex-husband to kill her and her 11-year-old son. That notebook was later placed in his car.
At the time of the murder, Richter was involved in a custody battle with her ex-husband, and it was argued that she was trying to use the set-up as a way to keep from losing her son and having to pay $1,000 a month in child support.
The notebook allegedly included references to Richter’s ex-husband, Virginia plastic surgeon John Pitman III. At the trial, he testified that he knew nothing about the notebook and had never met Wehde. The prosecution’s star witness was a former family friend who said Richter told her about the notebook after the shooting.
Investigators said they found the notebook at the crime scene, but they didn’t release any information at the time because they believed anyone who knew about the contents of the notebook had committed a crime.
The ruling at The Iowa Court of Appeals means that Richter will continue serving life in prison.
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