Judge: Murphsyboro man guilty of murdering parents - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Judge: Murphsyboro man guilty of murdering parents

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MURPHYSBORO, Ill. -- More than a year after Brenda and Burl Ritcheson's death at their home in Murphysboro, Jackson County Judge Ralph Bloodworth convicted the man responsible.

Prosecutor Casey Bloodworth, no relation, convinced the judge Keith Ritcheson shot both of his parents.

The couple's 41-year-old son lived with them for four years following a divorce where he says he lost everything.

Prosecutor Bloodworth said Ritcheson grew tired of his parents arguing about his presence in their home and his drinking.

Over and over again, the prosecutor played Ritcheson's own words from a police interview.

"I was going to go down denying it until somebody could prove him wrong," Ritcheson said in the interview with Jackson County Detective Chris Liggett.

The prosecutor said there were some things Ritcheson could never answer, like why he felt comfortable drinking and smoking in the living room before checking on his parents since neither of them allowed that in the house.

"What was the change in (his) circumstance?" Bloodworth asked during his closing arguments. "His parents are dead."

Ritcheson's lawyer, public defender Peggy Degen, said there was no motive to the shooting and that Ritcheson's story kept changing because detectives just kept pushing him.

"Keith was clearly making things up," Degen said. "There is no reason for Keith to have acted this way."

Judge Bloodworth disagreed and convicted Ritcheson on each count he faced. He scheduled sentencing for Nov. 9 and Ritcheson faces a minimum of 90 years in prison.

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