TIMELINE: The life of accused killer James Dale Ritchie

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James Ritchie wrote a letter to the judge in his 1998 drug case saying he regretted decisions he had made, and lamenting pain that his criminal case and actions had caused his family.

NOTE: In the interactive timeline above, click the arrow buttons to scroll through key court cases and moments.


The life of James Dale Ritchie was one of high promise and heartbreaking disappointments.

From his years as a champion athlete at East High School with 1200 SAT scores and offers from small colleges to his rapid descent into drug crimes -- and an apparent turnaround with family outside of Alaska -- the interactive timeline above details portions of Ritchie's life.

Killed by police at age 40, he is accused of killing the son of an old friend and shooting a police officer with a handgun linked to four other Anchorage homicides this year.

The audio player below includes a recording, obtained through a records request, of the 1998 court hearing where Ritchie and his mother testified, and attorneys discussed details of crimes for which he was never formally charged.

(App users, click here to open the interactive timeline in a new browser and click here for the audio file

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