August 14’s episode of Dateline tells the story of Tracey Ann Richter, who is currently serving life in prison after being convicted of the first-degree murder of Dustin Wehde. At the time, Richter was separated from her second husband, Michael Roberts. The two shared two young children.
When Richter shot and killed Wehde in 2001, she claimed she was acting in self-defense and to protect her children. 10 years later, after an investigation into Wehde’s death, Richter was charged with first-degree murder and ultimately found guilty.
Richter and Roberts divorced in 2004, but where is he today? He’s kept a low profile and stayed out of media attention for the past several years, but here’s what we know:
Roberts Moved to Australia After Richter’s Arrest
— Dateline NBC (@DatelineNBC) August 13, 2020
According to Des Moines Register, Roberts moved back to Australia, where he was from, after Richter was convicted.
His move was complicated by a custody battle with Richter over their two children. Though Roberts eventually got custody over both kids, Jim Fisher True Crime blog reports that Richter was granted regular visitation with her kids in 2012, meaning Roberts had to travel from California (where he and the kids were living at the time) to Iowa where Richter was serving her prison sentence.
According to Jim Fisher True Crime blog, before Richter was sentenced to life in prison, she sent a letter to a prison inmate in Wisconsin; the letter contained personal information about Roberts, including his social security number, date of birth, physical description, and home address.
Money From Roberts’ Child Support Payment Was Paid in Restitution to the Family of Wehde
Des Moines Register reported in 2014 that, per an Iowa judge’s ruling, Roberts’ $2000 child support payment would go to Dustin Wehde’s family, as part of the $150,000 restitution owed to them from Richter. In spite of Richter’s conviction, Roberts still had to pay child support and divorce settlement fees; since the money would not be going to Richter directly (she is serving life in prison and no longer has custody over her kids), it would go toward the money she owed. A court order required Roberts to pay $250 per month toward the balance, which he said is approximately $45,000 in child support and $60,000 in property and attorneys’ fees.
Although Richter maintained that she shot and killed Wehde out of self-defense and to protect her children who were home with her at the time, the jury later found that Richter was attempting to frame her first husband, Dr. John Pitman. Richter claimed that Pitman had hired Wehde to kill her and her son. According to the Omaha World-Herald, her motivation was a custody dispute between Richter and Pitman over their son Bert. To plant evidence to cover-up the murder and push her narrative, prosecutors said she “followed through by having Wehde write fictitious journal entries in the pink notebook and by staging evidence to make it appear as if she was defending herself.”
Richter’s appeal for a review of her case, on the grounds that she acted in self-defense, was later denied and the jury’s decision was upheld.
Dateline airs on Friday nights at 9/8c on NBC.