Man gets 12 years in prison for throw­ing ax at his mother

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - TRACY NEAL Tracy M. Neal can be reached by email at tneal@nwaon­ or Twit­ter @NWATracy.

BEN­TONVILLE — A Siloam Springs man was sen­tenced to 12 years in prison Thurs­day after plead­ing guilty to a list of charges in­clud­ing one in­volv­ing throw­ing an ax at his mother.

Justin Ritz, 27, pleaded guilty to two counts of ag­gra­vated as­sault on a fam­ily or house­hold, sec­ond-de­gree bat­tery, first-de­gree ter­ror­is­tic threat­en­ing and pos­ses­sion of drug para­pher­na­lia, all felonies. He also pleaded guilty to mis­de­meanor pos­ses­sion of drug para­pher­na­lia, pos­ses­sion of a con­trolled sub­stance and third-de­gree do­mes­tic battering.

The plea came un­der an agree­ment at­tor­ney Kevin Lam­mers reached with Car­rie Hobbs, deputy pros­e­cu­tor.

Siloam Springs po­lice in­ves­ti­gated a dis­tur­bance call at 9:21 Dec. 3 at 1636 Rose­wood Lane. An of­fi­cer en­tered the home and saw Ritz bleed­ing from in­juries to his face, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

Ritz claimed his mother, Nancy Ritz, had got ten an­gry at him and hit him on the face with a cane. Ritz’s par­ents claimed he as­saulted them, the af­fi­davit states.

Nancy Ritz told po­lice her son be­came an­gry be­cause he couldn’t find his keys and thought she had taken them away from him, ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit. She said her son be­gan to knock things over in her bed­room and screamed at her. She told po­lice her son picked up a ax and threw it to­ward her. The ax came within inches of her head and hit a bed­room wall, ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit.

Wit­nesses told po­lice Justin Ritz hit him­self on the face with the cane and planned to blame his par­ents for the in­juries, the af­fi­davit states.

Don­ald Ritz told po­lice he heard his son tell his wife he was was go­ing to kill her if she didn’t give him the keys, the af­fi­davit states.

Justin Ritz has been ar­rested three other times and those cases also were re­solved with the plea.

Ben­ton County Cir­cuit Judge Robin Green ac­cepted the plea agree­ment and Ritz’s guilty plea. Ritz was sen­tenced to 12 years in the Ar­kan­sas Depart­ment of Correction. He must serve at least two years be­fore he’s el­i­gi­ble for pa­role. He must abide by a sus­pended sen­tence agree­ment for 10 years after his re­lease from prison. Ritz must pay $2,200 in court costs and $200 in resti­tu­tion.

He was given credit for 84 days for the time he spent in the Ben­ton County Jail await­ing trial.


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