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Ritter pleads no contest to involuntary manslaughter

RADFORD — A Pulaski man charged with second-degree murder in the death of a Radford University last fall pled guilty Friday afternoon to a reduced charge.
According to Radford Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Rehak, 20-year-old William Christopher Ritter entered an Alford or “no contest” plea to a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the Sept. 14, 2008 injury and subsequent death of 21-year-old Bobby Fletcher Thomason.
A no contest plea means Ritter is not contesting evidence is sufficient for a finding of guilt, but he is not admitting guilt.
Ritter, whose address is listed on court papers as Pulaski, received a 10-year prison sentence, with 8.5 years suspended, and he will have to pay $11,785 in restitution to cover Thomason’s funeral expenses.
Ritter will be placed on three years of supervised probation upon release from prison.
Rehak said Ritter and Thomason became involved in a “verbal argument which turned violent” on the night Thomason was injured. Police said at that time Ritter shoved Thomason off a balcony at Hunter’s Ridge Apartments. Thomason died a week after the incident.
According to Rehak, “Thomason’s death was determined to be an accident caused by negligence. The amendment (of the murder charge) to involuntary manslaughter appropriately reflects the evidence, defendant’s conduct and the wishes of the victim’s family.
“This case is another tragic example of … irreversible consequences that happen in an instant when youthful alcohol abuse mixes with anger,” the prosecutors concluded.

Ritter pleads no contest to involuntary manslaughter

RADFORD — A Pulaski man charged with second-degree murder in the death of a Radford University last fall pled guilty Friday afternoon to a reduced charge.
According to Radford Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Rehak, 20-year-old William Christopher Ritter entered an Alford or “no contest” plea to a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the Sept. 14, 2008 injury and subsequent death of 21-year-old Bobby Fletcher Thomason.
A no contest plea means Ritter is not contesting evidence is sufficient for a finding of guilt, but he is not admitting guilt.
Ritter, whose address is listed on court papers as Pulaski, received a 10-year prison sentence, with 8.5 years suspended, and he will have to pay $11,785 in restitution to cover Thomason’s funeral expenses.
Ritter will be placed on three years of supervised probation upon release from prison.
Rehak said Ritter and Thomason became involved in a “verbal argument which turned violent” on the night Thomason was injured. Police said at that time Ritter shoved Thomason off a balcony at Hunter’s Ridge Apartments. Thomason died a week after the incident.
According to Rehak, “Thomason’s death was determined to be an accident caused by negligence. The amendment (of the murder charge) to involuntary manslaughter appropriately reflects the evidence, defendant’s conduct and the wishes of the victim’s family.
“This case is another tragic example of … irreversible consequences that happen in an instant when youthful alcohol abuse mixes with anger,” the prosecutors concluded.