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Richters sentenced in child imprisonment case

Posted at 2:00 PM, Mar 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-11 04:54:44-05

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A man convicted of imprisoning his wife's three daughters and keeping them in terrible conditions will spend close to six decades in prison. 

A judge sentenced Fernando Richter to 58 years in prison and his wife Sophia Richter to 20 years in prison after a jury convicted them both on kidnapping and child abuse charges. More than two years of their sentence has already been served. 
"Even after everything that she has done I find it in me to love her," said one of Sophia Richter's daughters in a statement she read to the judge before the sentencing. 
All three of Sophia Richter's daughters opened up in court Thursday, sharing intimate details about their lives and their time imprisoned. 
"I experienced things that I wish I could unsee," said one of the younger girls. "Things that made me cry, things that made me wish I had never been born." 
They pleaded with the judge saying that Fernando Richter took their mother away from them and they didn't want that to happen again. Two of the girls even asked if they could hug their mother. 
"I want her to hug me and kiss me," said Sophia Richter's oldest daughter in court. "I want to know that she's back and is never going to leave us again." 
In November 2013, two of Sophia Richter’s three daughters climbed out a window of a home in midtown Tucson. They ran to a neighbor's home at about 4 a.m. and said they had been held in the house, forbidden to step out of their rooms without permission.
Since their escape, the girls said in court that they are doing well. The oldest daughter was valedictorian at her graduation. The two younger girls say they have maintained A and B grades in school. One of them told the judge she is already planning to go to college and become a pediatrician. 
They all said that they were survivors. 
The judge also heard from Fernando Richter's stepfather during Thursday's sentencing, who explained that Fernando Richter suffers from PTSD and Schizophrenia. The judge said he took this into consideration when he sentenced Fernando Richter to 58 years in prison when the max would have been more than 100 years. That means Fernando Richter will be in his 90's by the time he gets out.  
Sophia Richter received the minimum sentence of 20 years in prison plus three years probation.
"I'm not saying that I'm healed," said Sophia Richter's oldest daughter after the hearing. "I'm still hurt. My mom is still going to miss a lot of our lives but we're going to visit her." 
She said she finally felt like something had gone right when her mother received the minimum sentence. On the other hand, she had hoped Fernando Richter would receive the maximum sentence. Regardless, she said after the sentencing, she finally felt like she could breathe.     
"It's finally like he doesn't exist anymore," she said. "I think we can all finally let go and know that we don't have to worry about him. There's a future for us all."
Fernando and Sophia Richter were supposed to be sentenced Feb. 29 but a judge ordered additional testing on Fernando Richter after he expressed in the courtroom that he didn't understand what was going on and didn't remember the trial. 

On March 4, Judge Tang ruled that Fernando Richter was competent to continue with his sentencing.

A jury found the Richters guilty on 14 charges including child abuse and kidnapping. Fernando Richter was also found guilty on two aggravated assault charges. 

The Richters still face charges in Pinal county related to Sophia Richter's three daughters. The oldest daughter tells us her family is now stronger and ready to face another possible trial. 





Judge finds Richter competent to continue with sentencing

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Child Imprisonment Trial: Judge Tang sends Richter case to jury

Child Imprisonment Trial: "He's nice, but he beats us"

Child Imprisonment Trial: "I never locked them in. I never told them to stay in there"

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Child Imprisonment Trial: Daughter says she was too scared to try and escape

Child Imprisonment Trial: Fernando Richter's mom saw nothing unusual about treatment of girls

Child Imprisonment Trial: "I never locked them in. I never told them to stay in there"