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Mother accused of imprisoning her children makes plea deal

Posted: 12:01 PM, Apr 15, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-16 02:46:24Z
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Appeals court vacates Sophia Richter conviction
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TUCSON, Ariz. - TUCSON, Ariz. - A mother charged with imprisoning her three daughters pleaded guilty Monday to fifteen counts of child abuse or kidnapping.

Sophia Richter was in tears as she conceded she abused her children.

Sophia Richter struggled with emotion as she read statements to confirm her guilt. For privacy, her children are identified by initials.

She said, "I committed kidnapping by knowingly restraining....A.A., B.A, and N.P. With an intent to aid in the commission of a felony child abuse."

Sophia Richter won the right to a new trial when an appeals court ruled should should have been allowed to claim she locked up and abused her daughters because she was afraid of her husband Fernando. He's serving a 58 year sentence in the case.

The couple kept the girls locked in their rooms at homes, first in Pinal County, and later in Midtown Tucson.

In Tucson, the girls escaped and told police they were locked away, fed terrible food, and forced to beg to use the bathroom.

Those same girls were in court to support their mother as she pleaded guilty to multiple counts, to live up to a deal that could give her a lighter sentence than her original 20 year sentence and may even lead to probation.

Because the girls are victims we are not allowed to show them on camera. Judge Javier Chon Lopez did not sentence Richter. That will wait for a pre-sentencing investigation and a hearing in June. In the meantime, Sophia Richter will be free on bond.

A jury found stepfather Fernando Richter and mother Sophia guilty of child abuse in 2016, finding that they kept Sophia's three daughters imprisoned for years. They were tried together and Fernando Richter was sentenced to 58 years in prison, with Sophia Richter receiving a 20-year sentence. A judge eventually tossed out Sophia Richter's conviction.

In October, a judge reduced bail for Sophia Richter after all three of her daughters testified on behalf of her.

PREVIOUSLY:

AZ DOC: Fernando Richter assaulted in prison

Judge imposes new guidelines for release of Sophia Richter

Appeals court tosses out Sophia Richter conviction

Daughter was scared to leave, all she had