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Woman kills black man to receive special lightning bolt tattoo

By Mason White 6:16 PM December 21, 2014
Richard Phillip Ritchie 

By: Feng Qian
A man and a woman were arrested, charged and convicted of first-degree murder after the racially charged killing of a black man, prosecutors in California said.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced that the jury found 39-year-old former white supremacist Richard Phillip Ritchie of Palmdale, guilty of first-degree murder in connection with the killing of 32-year-old Howard Garfield McClendon.

The jury also found Ritchie guilty of conspiracy to commit murder. The jury also believed that McClendon was murdered because of his race.

According to the police investigation, McClendon was beaten with a baseball bat, chased into a desert and stabbed so many times that he was nearly decapitated.

The victim’s skeletal remains were found about three months later, said Deputy District Attorney Geoffrey Lewin with the Organized Crime Division.

Ritchie and a female co-defendant, 37-year-old Kelly Sorrell, lured McClendon into a car and drove him down a dirt road to attack him so the woman could receive a lightning bolt tattoo, which is a supposed badge of honor for white supremacists who kill blacks.

Sorrell testified against Ritchie after pleading guilty to one count of first-degree murder and admitting the hate crime allegation.

She will be sentenced to 29 years to life in prison. Ritchie is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole. He is already serving a state prison sentence of more than 38 years for his conviction in a string of home-invasion robberies.

He was convicted of robbery, false imprisonment, grand theft auto and burglary. He was also convicted and sentenced to 16 months in prison for arson involving the burning of a cross.