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US killer of British tourist gets 21 1/2 years

US killer of British tourist gets 21 1/2 years

Just before being sentenced to prison for at least 21 1/2 years, a tearful Robert Davies apologized Thursday for stabbing a vacationing British tourist to death outside a Jersey shore bar, then said he's glad he didn't end up dead like his victim.
Davies, 49, was convicted of reckless manslaughter and weapons offenses stemming from the August 2007 stabbing of Lavern Paul Ritch of Penarth, Wales. Davies says he acted in self-defense, thinking Ritch was part of a group out to hurt or kill him.
Turning in the courtroom to look at Ritch's brother and best friend, who refused to look back at him, the handcuffed Davies cried as he repeatedly said he was sorry for what happened.
"Mr. Ritch, there aren't words that can properly express to you how sorry I am for killing your brother," Davies said. "That I could strike a blow with such intensity and such horrifying consequences for your entire family and when it's brought you such pain and grief is a shame from which I shall never escape. I can't ask for your forgiveness because I cannot forgive myself."
Yet in the next breath, Davies cited two other cases of men killed in altercations outside bars, implying they did not do enough to defend themselves "and they were carried by six," referring to their caskets at their funerals.
Davies said he can handle a long prison sentence, knowing his family is safe.
"If I have to go to jail, as long as my people are safe, I can handle it," he said. "As long as I don't have to go through what they went through, I'll live with it," he said, referring to the grief and mourning Ritch's family is experiencing.
Judge Bernard DeLury Jr. said the case stemmed from Davies' "racial and ethnic animus," calling the defendant "a latter-day know-nothing."
The fatal sequence of events started with a confrontation between Davies and a Mexican national in this country illegally named Mario Chavez inside the men's room of a bar in Margate, a Jersey shore resort town just outside Atlantic City.
During the trial, the prosecution said Chavez was angered when Davies confronted him, hurling an anti-Mexican insult at him. Shortly afterward, Assistant Prosecutor William Merz, Chavez found Davies outside the bar, ran up to him and punched him in the face, then fled, causing Davies to run after him.
The chase wound its way through the streets of Margate, past a different nightspot where Ritch and a few friends were waiting for a taxi back to their hotel room in an Atlantic City casino. Prosecutors and witnesses said Ritch joined the chase, intending to help Davies.
It is here that the two sides' stories diverged. Witnesses, including several Mexican nationals who had been with Chavez inside the bar, told police they saw Ritch run up to Davies and quickly draw back, with both hands raised high in the air, saying, "Look, I'm just trying to help you!" only to be stabbed in the chest.
Davies told the jury the 37-year-old Ritch ran up to him without a sound as a group of at least a half-dozen people were chasing after him. Davies said he lashed out at Ritch, stabbing him in the heart before running away.
He said he acted lawfully to defend himself, fearing his life was in danger.
Ritch appeared as a contestant in the British adaptation of "American Gladiators" in 1998.
A swimming and fitness instructor in Cardiff, Wales, he was listed in a 2002 poll of Britain's 50 most eligible bachelors by Company magazine, and was named the 12th most eligible man in Wales that same year in a local newspaper.
The BBC described him in 2007 as "a well-known clubber on the London and Cardiff scenes."


Updated : 2021-10-20 18:44 GMT+08:00