KGUN 9News


Defendants mom claims no sign of imprisonment

Posted at 5:07 PM, Nov 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-25 19:07:47-05
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Fernando Richter is on trial on a claim that he and his wife Sophia kept their three children prisoners in their home in Tucson, and another home in Catalina in Pinal County.
Two of the girls climbed out a window of the Tucson home and got away two years ago.
Inside the home, Tucson Police found another girl, surveillance cameras, and evidence the children living under rules so strict they could not leave their room without permission, so they sometimes relieved themselves in the closet.
Earlier witnesses included police, neighbors and the girls themselves.
Today without the jury present Judge Paul Tang confirmed Fernando Richter would not testify.
Judge Tang asked, "I understand with the advice of counsel you made an election and that you're deciding not to take the stand or to testify in your own defense, correct?
Fernando responded with, "Yes."
Judge Tang, "and that's with the advice of counsel, right?"
Fernando responded with, "Yes."
Earlier, Fernando Richter's attorney called his only witness: Richter's mother Maria.
Speaking through a translator, she said she visited her son's home in Catalina and later in Tucson many times and saw no signs the girls lived anything but a normal life.
"Sometimes I would see them going to the bathroom, going toward the bathroom, sometimes watching television."
She said that was at the house in Catalina and that she usually made shorter visits when the family moved to this house in Tucson.  She did recount one three hour cooking session in Tucson with Sophia Richter, but only saw quick glimpses of two of the girls as they went to the bathroom.
Whether the children were allowed to clean themselves has been an issue in the trial.
Questioned by a prosecutor, Maria Richter conceded she did not see hygiene products in the bathroom you'd expect to see with three teenaged girls in the house.
The trial is on a break until Tuesday.
Attorneys should make closing arguments, then the case should go to the jury.