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Illinois Personal Injury & Criminal Defense / Blog / Criminal Defense / Illinois Defendant Charged for the Murder of His Parents

Illinois Defendant Charged for the Murder of His Parents


In the case, People v. Ritcheson, the defendant, Keith R. Ritcheson was charged with four counts of first-degree murder for the death of his parents. The defendant claimed that he had come home to find his parents shot dead. But after changing his story, police were able to get a confession from the defendant stating that he shot his father, but his father shot his mother. The defendant was convicted on two counts of first-degree murder after a bench trial. The two other counts were dismissed based on the one-act, one-crime doctrine. He was sentenced to natural life behind bars but appealed his conviction based on ineffective assistance of counsel. The appeals court denied his appeal. In this article, the Champaign, IL criminal defense lawyers at Patel Law, PC will discuss the case, the conviction, and the attempt at appeal.

Details of the case 

In the case mentioned above, the defendant called 911 and claimed that he found his parents dead in their home and he believed someone came through the garage to access and murder them. As the case developed, the theory that the defendant gave to the police did not match the evidence and the defendant changed his story. Eventually, the police were able to elicit a confession from the defendant stating that he was responsible for killing his parents. After a bench trial, the defendant was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder.

Ineffective assistance of counsel 

All defendants are afforded the right to be represented by an attorney when they face criminal charges. Their attorney must uphold the prevailing standard of representation for the profession. In cases where a criminal defendant’s criminal defense attorney fails to uphold the standard of representation, the defendant can claim that their constitutional rights were violated and the conviction may be vacated by the courts and retried by the prosecution.

If a defendant wants to establish a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, they must be able to prove two elements. First, they must establish that their attorney’s performance fell below an objective standard of reasonableness, and second, there is a reasonable possibility that the proceeding would be different if their attorney had conducted themselves according to the prevailing standard of representation for the profession.

In this case, the defendant lost his appeal and the courts found that his attorney did not breach the standard of care in representing him. The defendant’s appeal was likely denied because the defendant confessed to the murders of his parents and no attorney would easily be able to overcome that evidence. Plus, the evidence pointed to the defendant as the main culprit for the homicides. Hence, the defendant’s appeal was denied in this case.

Talk to a Champaign, IL Criminal Defense Attorney Today 

Patel Law, PC represents the interests of Champaign, IL residents who have been charged with serious crimes including first-degree murder. Call our Champaign criminal defense lawyers today to schedule an appointment and we can begin the process of preparing your defense right away.



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