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Judge Tang sends Richter case to jury

Posted at 6:13 PM, Dec 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-02 20:13:39-05

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Were Fernando and Sophia Richter's daughters victims of child abuse, or teenage girls embellishing life in a less than ideal household?

Those are the competing views the prosecution, and Fernando Richter's attorney urged jurors to consider today.
 
 
Sophia Richter was the last witness in the case yesterday.
 
Now it will be up to jurors to decide kidnapping and child abuse charges against the Richter's for what police found in this house.
 
Two of the three girls climbed out a window and ran away about 4 a.m. two years ago.
 
They said they were forced to stay in their rooms in terrible conditions and that another sister was still inside.
 
The jury has had the case since 2 p.m.
 
They have a lot of work to do considering a total of 14 counts against Fernando and Sophia Richter.
 
 
Summing up the case, Prosecutor Alan Goodwin told the jury it is true the the three girls could have opened their doors and windows and escaped but they were so afraid of Fernando and Sophia Richter that mental imprisonment was enough.
 
"There didn't need to be bars on the windows.  There didn't need to be bars on the doors.  Those bars were literally inside the girls heads," said Goodwin.
 
The prosecutor said the Richter's controlled the girls through intimidation, sleep deprivation, and always keeping the girls off balance.
 
He said the Richter's made the girls so afraid to leave their rooms without permission they would relieve themselves in the closet if permission didn't come in time.  
 
The oldest daughter spent so much time in isolation, her legs grew weak and she started to lose her ability to speak.
 
The girls said their only food was pasta and scraps served from a five gallon bucket.
 
Goodwin also said, "When you get to the bottom the food is rancid or as the girls put it, nasty." 
 
Leo Plowman is Sophia Richter's lawyer.  
 
"I am not going to stand up here in front of you and say that they looked completely normal, that they looked like children in the healthiest condition of life."
 
But he said Sophia Richter did feed the children healthy food along with the noodles and scraps they described and he urged the jurors to consider Fernando Richter as the main aggressor behind the abuse of the girls.
  
But Fernando Richter's attorney said maybe the Richter's weren't someone they'd want to live with but the girls could have left.
 
 
He said Sophia Richter testified she fed them fresh fruit and there were orange peels in the girls bedrooms.
 
Paul Skitzki, Fernando Richter's Attorney said, "Certainly things were not ideal in this home but it seems the girls based on time passing and everything that came out of this case seemed to have embellished various parts of what was going on in their lives."
 
He said the girls showed no scars from the beatings they claimed.
 
The jury will resume deliberations at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday.
 
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