Trial begins in track star's fatal stabbing


by JADE MINGUS / KVUE News and Photojournalist SCOTT McKENNEY

Bio | Email | Follow: @JadeM_KVUE

Posted on October 29, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 29 at 6:20 PM

AUSTIN -- Opening statements have ended in the second murder trial for Kaitlyn Ritcherson.

Ritcherson's first trial ended in a mistrial because of a dead-locked jury. She's charged with murder in the December 2011 stabbing death of Fatima Barrie, a track star at Huston-Tillotson University.

Barrie was stabbed outside a club called Republic Live near Fifth Street and Lavaca as bars were closing down. Police say Ritcherson and Barrie did not know each other before the attack.

Prosecutors say Ritcherson used a pocket knife to stab Barrie. The defense says it was in her purse that night because she used it to trim her hair extensions.

"When she saw the opportunity, she lifted it up and plunged it into Fatima Barrie's chest," said prosecutor Meg McGee.

The trial began Tuesday morning with an Austin police officer taking the stand. He was the first to arrive that night outside the club.

Jurors were showed dash camera video from his car in which you can see about 100 people gathered, yelling when the officer pulled up on scene.

The officer testified as to seeing Barrie’s body between two vehicles. He said she was still alive, but he could tell she was dying. As soon as paramedics got to the scene, the police officer went to work trying to secure the crime scene to preserve evidence. He said he had a hard time getting the crowd to cooperate.

Ritcherson claims she acted in self defense. In opening statements her defense attorneys said Barrie lunged at her three times and hit her in the head.

"Kaitlyn reacting out of fear in that moment, she reacts in self defense and stabs Fatima," said defense attorney Amber Farrelly.

Prosecutors argued that’s something Ritcherson's attorneys came up with after the incident.

Ritcherson is charged with first degree murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. She faces five to 99 years in prison if convicted.

The trial is expected to last one week. 

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