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Prosecutor: Jealousy at heart of Schenectady shooting

Trial opens for man accused of attempted murder

February 14, 2013
Updated 10:56 p.m.
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— In bed with his girlfriend in June 2011, Riley Ritter woke to a shadowy figure over the bed, a prosecutor told a Schenectady County Court jury Thursday.

The figure asked Ritter how he would feel if he saw another man in bed with the mother of his children, prosecutor Tracey Brunecz said.

The figure then turned to the woman, Challana Dobbs, reminding her he had warned her never to have another man in front of his children, Brunecz told the jury in opening statements at the trial of Radheya Mathews, the man accused of being that shadowy figure.

“He’s so angry,” Brunecz told the jury, “that he then proceeds to an alcove area off the bedroom, reaches down by a filing cabinet and a safe and comes back up with a gun. The defendant then turns and shoots Riley Ritter.”

Mathews allegedly fired once, hitting Ritter in the right upper chest. The next thing Ritter remembers was five days later, when he woke up in the hospital, his life saved by doctors.

Mathews, 35, formerly of Stanley Street, is standing trial on one count of second-degree attempted murder, along with one count of first-degree burglary. He is accused of breaking into Dobbs’ Mumford Street apartment and shooting Ritter at about 7 a.m.

He also faces one count each of first-degree assault and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of any one of the top counts.

Mathews is represented in court by attorney Fred Rench. In his opening statement, Rench focused on the prosecution’s witness list, which includes 56 people.

Of that list, Rench told the jury, only three witnesses matter, the three who were there that day — Dobbs, Ritter and a daughter of Dobbs.

“Look at the evidence from the people on the scene that day,” Rench told the jury. “When you do that, you will find their testimony to be inconsistent and contradictory.”

Rench also pointed out that other items were found in the house by authorities, including cocaine and cash. He questioned why no charges were ever brought regarding those items.

Mathews wasn’t arrested in the case until April 2012, when city police and U.S. marshals tracked him down in Troy. Mathews has been in custody since his arrest.

The case is being heard before acting Schenectady County Court Judge Richard Giardino.

 
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