An Oskaloosa mother was found guilty today in the death of her 18-month-old child. Alicia Ritenour was convicted of first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death in the January death of her 18 month old child Ava.
The Mahaska County jury handed down its verdict after 11 hours of deliberations over two-and-a-half days. Ritenour and her family both were moved to tears as a result of the guilty verdict. During the trial, prosecutors sought to portray Ritenour as a mother who lost interest in parenting her child. Prosecutors also pointed to three different occasions where Ritenour had changed her story to authorities regarding the death of her child.
Ritenour’s defense attorney tried to argue to the jury that Ritenour was a good mother to Ava and could not have killed her. He also sought to prove that a friend of Ritenour’s live-in boyfriend had allegedly killed Ritenour’s daughter, saying the friend did not like Ava.
(Reporting by Charlie Comfort, KBOE, Oskaloosa)