BENJAMIN DONNIE # 98
ON DEATH ROW SINCE 10-15-02
DOC: #967072 White Male
Marion County Superior Court
Judge Patricia J. Gifford
Cause #: 49G04-0010-CF-172900
Prosecutor: Scott C. Newman, Joel D. Hand
Defense: Kevin M. McShane, Jack Crawford
Date of Murder: September 29, 2000
Victim(s): William Toney W / M / 32 (Beech
Grove Police Officer - No relationship to Ritchie)
Method of Murder: Shooting with .9 mm
Summary: While on routine patrol,
Beech Grove police officer Matthew Hickey noticed a white van
matching the description of a van stolen earlier in the evening.
Officer Hickey followed the white van, which
accelerated at a high rate of speed. Officer Hickey gave chase and
was joined by Officer William Toney and Sergeant Robert Mercuri,
each driving separate marked police cars.
The vehicular chase ended when the driver,
Benjamin Ritchie, wrecked the van, then fled on foot. The passenger,
Michael Greer fell from the van and also ran. Officer Hickey chased
Greer on foot and caught up to him a short distance away.
Officer Toney chased Ritchie on foot through
several yards and into the backyard of 717 Fletcher Avenue, where he
was shot five times with a .9 mm Glock handgun. One of the four
bullets Ritchie fired missed Officer Toney’s bulletproof vest by an
inch, cut through an artery, punctured his lung and lodged itself in
Ritchie ditched a wig and the handgun in
shrubbery nearby and eventually made his way to the home of a friend,
where he was arrested the next morning.
While in jail, Ritchie was interviewed by four
local television reporters. During all four interviews, Ritchie both
claimed to be very sorry for what he had done and for the death of
Officer Toney, but that he had not fired the fatal shot. Rather,
Ritchie claimed that he dropped his weapon and that he heard it go
off as he ran away.
At sentencing, the victim's wife was reading her
victim impact statement when Ritchie repeatedly interrupted her,
laughed, and called her a "bitch" when she declared him a coward.
The victim statement was given in the presence of
Ritchie after sentencing in accordance with a new statute which was
enacted in 2002 despite warnings that such outbursts would become
commonplace from defendants with nothing to lose after being
sentenced to death.
Conviction: Murder, Possession of a Firearm
by a Serious Violent Felon, Auto Theft,
Resisting Law Enforcement, Resisting Law
Enforcement, Carrying Handgun Without License.
October 15, 2002 (Death Sentence, 20 years, 3 years, 3 years, 1 year,
Merged - all concurrent)
b (6) Victim was law enforcement officer
b (9) On probation or parole
Defendant's youthful age
Diagnosis of Cognitive Disorder N.O.S.
Abused, head injuries as a child
Mother abused drugs and alcohol during pregnancy
True natural father unknown
Meager economic status
Benjamin D. Ritchie