Ritcherson sentenced to 25 years for murder



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Posted on November 8, 2013 at 11:34 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 9 at 4:36 PM

AUSTIN -- A Travis County jury sentenced 21-year-old Kaitlyn Ritcherson to 25 years in jail for the murder of Huston-Tillotson track star Fatima Barrie.

Ritcherson must serve half of the sentenced time before becoming eligible for parole.

Friday was a day chock full of emotion for Ritcherson.

The day before, a jury took nine hours to find her guilty of murdering Fatima Barrie nearly two years ago.

"She's been crying for a couple of weeks," Assistant District Attorney Gary Cobb said. "You can bet one thing: all of those tears are a drop in the ocean for the tears she had for Fatima Barrie."

In December 2011, Ritcherson and Barrie got into a fight outside a downtown Austin club. Ritcherson stabbed Barrie in the heart. She died 17 days later.

"It is clear she did not provoke this," said Ritcherson's attorney Charlie Baird. "It is clear it only occurred after she had been struck in the head by Fatima Barrie."

The defense said Ritcherson was defending herself. The prosecution said Ritcherson has a history of violence, bringing a knife to school at age 14 and threatening her own brother with a knife four years ago.

Ritcherson's mother testified that she has done the best she can for Kaitlyn, helping deal with situations when she got into trouble at school.

One of the most dramatic moments during closing arguments came as one prosecutor was wrapping up. She accused Ritcherson of smirking while she was talking.

"I think she thinks this is funny," prosecutor Meg McGee said. "I hope y'all watched that. That's who she is."