Back in November, following a two-week trial, a jury found Tracey Richter guilty of killing her neighbor, Dustin Wehde, in her Early, Iowa, home in 2001. Friday night, her murder conviction was the focus of a two-hour "Dateline NBC" special.
From the Sac County jail, only hours before she would be sentenced to life in prison for Dustin Wehde's murder, Tracey Richter opened up about the night that changed so many lives.
Dennis Murphy, Dateline NBC, says "Did you lure Dustin Wehde over to your house that day and execute him..." Tracey Richter, Convicted Killer says, "No." Dennis Murphy, Dateline NBC, says, "...in cold blooded..." Tracey Richter, Convicted Killer says, "No." Dennis Murphy, Dateline NBC, says, "...fashion?" Tracey Richter, Convicted Killer says, "No." Dennis Murphy, Dateline NBC, says "That never happened?" Tracey Richter, Convicted Killer says, "That never happened."
In an interview with Dateline NBC's Dennis Murphy, Richter denied allegations she planned to kill Wehde.
She says she did so only to protect herself, and her three children, after Wehde broke into her home. A claim backed up by her son, Bert Pitman. Then just 11-years-old, Pitman remembers someone chasing his mother down the hall of their home. Bert Pitman, Richter's Son says, "She's in the door jam, like, tryin' to get in. And I can see, you know, all of a sudden her just get yanked back by her hair." Pitman says his mother's last act was to slam the bedroom door shut. Pitman then prepared to defend himself, and his younger brother and sister... grabbing a baseball bat nearby. Bert Pitman, Richter's Son says, "I was just like, "okay, first person comin' through here, i'm hittin'." Like, goin' out fighting, you know, gonna try."
Juror Kenny Brown, a father himself, tried to put himself in Richter's place. Kenny Brown, Juror says, "You wanted to believe it so bad. Because I'm the same way. If something happened in my household I'm gonna protect it." Dennis Murphy, Dateline NBC, "Yeah, nobody's counting the bullets?" Kenny Brown, Juror says, "And nobody's counting the bullets. "That's exactly right. I'm gonna fire until that gun is empty and they're down."
But, not every juror believed Richter's story of self-defense. Paulette Soppeland, Juror says, "I guess one thing that stuck in my head was that she took one of the guns that still had bullets in it, she took it downstairs and unloaded it on the counter. Well, if you're protecting your children you wouldn't, you wouldn't unload a gun. You'd keep it loaded."
And, after ten-years, Dustin Wehde's mother wondered if she's ever get justice for her son. Mona Wehde, Victim's Mother says, "You know I felt like my hands was tied because I couldn't do the investigation. I couldn't do anything. And I was so sad because my son's file was just sitting on a shelf. And I'm like how long is that gonna sit there? Will there ever be a day of justice?
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