RICHTER TRIAL: Jury finds defendants guilty on all charges - Tucson News Now

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RICHTER TRIAL: Jury finds defendants guilty on all charges

Sophia and Fernando Richter. (Source: Tucson News Now) Sophia and Fernando Richter. (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Sophia and Fernando Richter, the Tucson couple accused of imprisoning and abusing three young girls for years, have been found guilty on all charges.

A jury found both guilty of kidnapping and child abuse Friday, marking an end to one of southern Arizona's most watched child abuse trials.

Fernando and his wife Sophia Richter were accused of holding her three daughters captive inside their Pinal and Pima county homes in filthy prison-like conditions for up to two years.

Fernando was found guilty of three counts of child abuse and kidnapping and two counts of aggravated assault. Sophia was found guilty of three counts of child abuse and three counts of kidnapping.

Following the verdict, the jury remained in the courtroom for a aggravating circumstances hearing, in which the following circumstances were proven. 

Counts one, two, three, seven, eight, nine as to both defendants:

  • Presence of an accomplice
  • Physical, emotional or financial harm to each victim
  • The offense was committed in the presence of a child
  • Each Defendant’s position of trust to the victim

With respect to the offenses of kidnapping in counts one and two only, both defendants:

  • Dangerous Crime Against Children (“DCAC”)

With respect to count four and count five: Aggravated Assault, Fernando Richter only:

  • The offense was committed in the presence of a child
  • Defendant’s position of trust to the victim
  • DCAC
  • Dangerous Offense

Sentencing for the Richters will take place on Feb. 16, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. 

The Richters still face charges in Pinal County because Catalina, where the Richter's lived for most of two years the girls were allegedly in captivity, is in Pinal County.

Related story

Fernando Richter facing child molestation, sexual abuse charges

Background

Authorities claim the girls were monitored by video surveillance 24 hours per day, fed the same "disgusting food" day after day, forced to drink bath water out of moldy plastic jugs, beat with belts and spoons and sometimes had to use their closets as a bathroom. Authorities also said the Richters blasted loud music through the home.

The allegations came to light November 2013 when two of the girls managed to escape the family's Tucson home. The girls said they escaped through a window when Fernando Richter tried to break down their bedroom door with a knife in his hand.

Investigators said the Richters, who pleaded not guilty to all charges, moved to Tucson in August 2013 after living in Pinal County for several years.

Previous Coverage

• DAY 1: Richter trial breaks for weekend, will continue Tuesday

• DAY 2: Police officers testify about living conditions

• DAY 3: Middle sister takes witness stand

• DAY 4: Oldest sister breaks down on witness stand

• DAY 4: Neighbors reflect on day girls escaped

• DAY 5: Girls' aunt, grandmother testify

• DAY 6: State rests case after psychiatrist testifies

• DAY 7: Trial breaks for weekend after defendant's mother testifies

• DAY 8: Defense rests, closing arguments set for Wednesday

• DAY 9: Closing arguments begin in child abuse trial

• DAY 9: Jury in Richter trial can consider many options

• DAY 10: Trial to resume Friday with more jury deliberations

• DAY 10: Fernando Richter facing child molestation, sexual abuse charges in Pinal County

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