Judge denies new trial for college track star's killer

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by TONY PLOHETSKI / KVUE NEWS and Photojournalist DEREK RASOR and KVUE.com Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @tplohetski

kvue.com

Posted on January 8, 2014 at 11:12 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 16 at 3:52 PM

AUSTIN -- A judge has denied a new trial for a woman convicted of killing a Huston-Tillotson University track star.

Lawyer Charlie Baird sought a new trial for Kaitlyn Ritcherson, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison in the 2011 stabbing death of Fatima Barrie. His effort resulted in numerous recent hearings before State District Judge Bob Perkins, who made the ruling on Thursday.

In court records obtained by the KVUE Defenders in collaboration with the Austin American-Statesman, Baird accused prosecutors of intentionally withholding cell phone video showing a key witness in the case drinking alcohol soon before the stabbing outside a popular downtown Austin bar.

Assistant District Attorney Gary Cobb, who prosecuted the case, says he and other prosecutors were not legally required to give Baird the video. He said it contained no information that would have aided her defense.

Prosecutors have said that Ritcherson stabbed Barrie in the heart in 2011 with a small knife following a verbal confrontation that turned physical. Barrie, a 21-year-old junior biology major, later died.

Ritcherson's lawyer has said that she acted in self-defense.

Baird said that because he did not have the video, he was not able to adequately raise questions about that witness's credibility.

"We were not able to marshal our evidence as far as bringing in the witnesses we wanted to to show how intoxication can affect somebody's ability to see, and recount and recall events that occurred," Baird said.

Baird also accused prosecutors of inaccurately saying another witness in the case was unable to attend a second trial for Ritcherson, whose first trial last spring resulted in a deadlocked jury.

However, Cobb said that witness's testimony was entered into the court record and that jurors were aware of its content.

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