The Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the State Attorney’s Office secured a search warrant for his DNA. Upon receipt, it was determined that Ritchie was a match for several burglaries that had occurred in the Santa Rosa Beach area.
Gerald Wayne Simmons, 26, was convicted by a Walton County Jury on August 13, for his participation in the burglary of a dwelling while armed with a firearm and dealing in stolen property. Simmons was sentenced to 30 years in the Department of Corrections with the first ten to be a minimum mandatory sentence for the burglary of a dwelling while armed. The dealing in stolen property conviction is to be served consecutively. On May 23, 2013, the victim arrived and found his home burglarized. Among the items taken, were several firearms, a large amount of cash and jewelry. Walton County Sheriff’s investigators were able to determine the defendant had pawned several pieces of jewelry on May 24, 2013, including a class ring clearly identified as the victims.
Chrispin Pedro Ramirez, 22, is sentenced to life in prison without parole for first degree murder of Arthur Anderson, 77. Ramirez was also sentenced to life in prison for burglary of a dwelling with assault and 50 years in prison for arson of a dwelling, grand theft auto, resisting arrest with violence, discharge of a fire bomb and destruction of a fire safety device. All sentences were imposed consecutively. The charges stem from Ramirez stabbing Anderson when he discovered Ramirez and 16 year old Haley Bowden unlawfully inhabiting a home for which he was the caretaker. After stabbing Anderson, Ramirez set fire to the dwelling and stole Anderson’s vehicle. After being apprehended, Ramirez threatened deputies with weapons and resisted arrest. Ramirez confessed fully to all crimes for which he was charged. The crime of destruction of a fire safety device arose from Ramirez’s damaging a fire sprinkler in his cell in the Walton County jail on May 6, 2013. Co-defendant Haley Bowden is still facing prosecution for her part in Anderson’s murder and the connected crimes.
(L to R: Ritchie, Simmons and Ramirez)