MIAMI (AP) – Taxpayer dollars will help cover the defense of a Florida woman accused of first-degree murder over the death of her 9-year-old autistic son.
Miami-Dade District Judge Daryl Travik ruled Thursday that 46-year-old Patricia Ripley is poor for certain expenses, which include charges, private investigators and experts who specialize in keeping defendants out of the Florida Death Row. The Miami Herald. Such executions have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs for experts, investigators and others.
Prosecutors objected, saying his family owned an expensive house in South Florida and land in the Dominican Republic.
Ripley is currently responsible for the payment of $ 300,000 charged by his private advocates. If a judge finds that he or she is unsafe to pay for a lawyer, he or she will be referred to the Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office.
Ripley is accused of killing Alejandro Ripley in May 2020, who suffered from severe autism. He is charged with first-degree murder and numerous other crimes. He remains in prison awaiting trial. He pleaded not guilty.
Patricia Ripley first called 911 and said that two black boys had taken her son after he ran off the road south of Miami. An amber signal sounded for the boy. The child’s body was found the next day in the canal, a few miles (kilometers) from the area, he said, the kidnapping took place.
Investigators initially suspected Ripley’s accounts of the incident. They learned that earlier in the evening, according to the authorities, Ripley was caught by surveillance cameras pushing the boy into a canal. An accidental boy rescued the boy from the water.
Police said that about an hour later, the mother poured water on the child again, and he drowned.
When police confronted Ripley, they said he confessed to stealing the kidnapping story. He confessed that he was taking the child to the canal where he died, he said. “He will be in a better place,” police said in a statement.