CLEARFIELD – An inmate at Clearfield County Jail accused of attempting to get another inmate to execute a hit on his wife, ex-wife and ex-wife’s boyfriend had a hearing on Wednesday.
John Lee Ritchey, 36 of Strattanville, faces charges of criminal solicitation to commit murder, F1, 3 counts and criminal solicitation to commit aggravated assault, F1, 1 count.
A confidential informant testified that while he was in CCJ with Ritchey, Ritchey propositioned him to kill his ex-wife and her boyfriend, as well as his current wife. He said Ritchey also asked him to disfigure his wife. The CI said Ritchey gave him his ex-wife’s address and description. He said Ritchey wanted her dead because she would not let him speak with their children.
“He just wanted her out of the picture,” said the CI. “Dead.”
He said that for payment, Ritchey offered to involve him in a future burglary in which a lot of money was involved. He said once the deed was done, he was to send word to a relative of Ritchey’s, stating, “It’s done.” The CI said the relative, who didn’t know what was going on, would then relay the message to Ritchey.
The CI said he talked to the deputy warden about the proposition, indicating that what Ritchey wanted ‘wasn’t right.”
From there, the state police were called in. He said he spoke with an investigator and gave a recorded and written statement. He said he was asked to wear a wire, to which he agreed. He said on Jan. 27 he spoke with Ritchey again, this time with the wire. He said he told Ritchey he was getting out, and that Ritchey said, “It had to be done.”
He testified that Ritchey gave him a map of his ex-wife’s residence and advice on where to kill her. He said Ritchey also gave him his ex-wife’s address and description; both sets of descriptions were given in writing.
Under cross, the CI said he got to know Ritchey during his stay in CCJ. He said Ritchey was “spilling his guts.” He said he told Ritchey he had done time for manslauther. When asked why, he said he had served in bigger jails/prisons, and that he knew Ritchey was going with the conversation. He said Ritchey asked him if he could do it again, and he said he could. He said Ritchey propositioned him for the hit shortly after they met.
“I thought he was bs’ing about it,” said the CI. “But he was obssessing about it. He wanted it done.”
He was asked why Ritchey wanted his current wife maimed. The CI stated that Ritchey said she was seeing someone, and that if she was disfigured, she’d go back to Ritchey. He said that Ritchey also figured she was going to testify against him in another case.
The CI was asked if he expected special treatment or deals for his cooperation. He said he was not. He was asked if he received either.
“No sir,” he answered.
Also testifying was the investigating trooper. He testified as to his involvment and the evolution of the case.
After hearing testimony, Magisterial District Judge James Hawkins bound all charges over and set Ritchey’s bail at $1 million.
Ritchey was in CCJ after being arrested for a spree of burglaries he allegedly committed.