Guilty verdict in Huston-Tillotson track star murder


by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and Photojournalist SCOTT McKENNEY

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE

Posted on November 8, 2013 at 10:20 AM

Updated Friday, Nov 8 at 10:20 AM

AUSTIN -- Just after 10 p.m. Thursday, a Travis County jury found Kaitlyn Ritcherson guilty in the 2011 murder of Huston-Tillotson University track star Fatima Barrie.

Ritcherson will be sentenced at 9 a.m. on Friday. She faces five to 99 years in prison.

Jurors heard closing arguments for two hours and 45 minutes Thursday morning in the trial of Kaitlyn Ritcherson. She is charged with murder for the stabbing death of Barrie in December 2011.

Barrie died at University Medical Center Brackenridge after weeks of intensive care.

Prosecutors said Ritcherson stabbed Barrie in the heart outside Republic Live, a club in downtown Austin. Police said Barrie and a group of friends were leaving a concert on West 5th Street and Lavaca Street when a fight broke out, and that's when she was stabbed.

For the past week and a half, jurors heard testimony from witnesses that varied greatly. Ritcherson and Barrie did not know each other, and police said it was unclear why they started fighting.

Ritcherson's attorney, Charlie Baird, said Barrie hit Ritcherson in the head and Ritcherson reacted in self defense.

"She was struck in the head with a cell phone, a shoe or a fist, it doesn't matter which. She has the right to be free from violence inflicted upon her by Fatima Barrie," Baird told jurors. "The only time Kaitlyn Ritcherson has a knife and stabs anybody is the third time she has been attacked or rushed or lunged at by Fatima Barrie."

But the defense argued that Ritcherson never told any officials that she had been attacked.

"You got to see her talking to the police, and she never said, 'I acted in self defense.' Never gave any suggestion of it. Not only did she never say to the police, 'I acted in self defense,' she never suggested she needed to," said Travis County Attorney Gary Cobb.

During her closing, Travis County Attorney Meg McGee became emotional when quoting Barrie's mother.

"She had run her last race, and I'm gonna miss her very much. That's what you heard from Pat Davis. She sat with that beautiful scholarship daughter of hers for 17 days, waiting for her to die because of what the defendant did to her," said McGee. "Fatima Barrie was everything that Kaitlyn Ritcherson is not," she said.

This is the second trial for Ritcherson in this case. The first trial ended in May with a dead-locked jury.