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Thursday, March 22, 2007

It must take a lot to get the chair these days

Man admits torturing, killing roommate - but avoids death penalty via guilty plea. Seriously- what does it take to get the death penalty these days? If not this guy, who? If not for a crime this brutal and horrific, how brutal and horrific? Seriously... the only plea from this guy that should have been accepted would be his request for some A1 to garnish the salisbury steak he was having as his last meal.

A Butler County man who had been released from a mental hospital just months before he tortured and killed his mentally disabled roommate pleaded guilty today to first-degree murder.

Timothy James Caldwell, 30, will spend the rest of his life in prison plus 21 to 42 months for abusing a corpse and tampering with evidence, for the burning death of 30-year-old Jason Michael Ritzert.

Butler County District Attorney Randa Clark agreed to the plea, giving up her plan to seek the death penalty for Mr. Caldwell.


The case was one of Butler County's more horrific and had been described by the state police captain there, Robert Lizik, as "bizarre and brutal."

Mr. Caldwell had confessed to authorities that he had hit Mr. Ritzert and had burned his hands over a period of several weeks as "punishment" for stealing some pocket change. Then, one day in November 2005, he soaked Mr. Ritzert's shirt in lighter fluid, forced him into a bathtub, then set him afire.

It should be mentioned that the guilty parties, Caldwell and Melissa Adams, her of the soon-to-be-mentioned low IQ, then pulled Jason from the bathtub and let him lay for a week on his bed while his burn wounds oozed. He must have endured excruciating pain. And it just gets worse. They may have let him lay there forever, except Caldwell "became upset with himself and because he was upset he kicked Ritzert to the ribs as he laid on the floor." This kick must have initiated a tremendous realization for Caldwell- "Hey, you done forgot to kill that guy that you burned put near to death last week."

I didn't find much other than the original post-gazette article and thread from a message board. But a post on that board notes that one of Caldwell's co-defendants was seeking an insanity defense - because HER IQ IS BELOW AVERAGE! If you're smart enough to try that, you're smart enough to play with the big kids.

A follow-up article gives more background on the victim, Jason Michael Ritzert.


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