After 20-year-old Karari Ritchie was arrested Tuesday in the homicide case of a Taco Bell manager, Broward Sheriff's detectives say he told them about a partner from Miami -- but that was a red herring. Detectives believe he was trying to protect his older brother, Tesfaye Ritchie, but they say they pulled Tesfaye's fingerprints off a cup that was found at the murder scene.
Karari, say detectives, was a former employee of the Taco Bell on Oakland Park Boulevard. He used to get rides to the restaurant with Tikkitress Johnson. From the BSO news release:
Karari knew that she would be alone and she would allow them into the locked eatery. After gaining entry on the guise of seeking jobs, the Ritchie brothers both accepted soft drinks from Johnson, leaving their fingerprints on the plastic cups. They then announced that their purpose was actually robbery, and after Johnson turned over the cash, Karari stabbed her multiple times with a kitchen knife they brought from home. The Ritchies then left her to die on the floor and exited the building with their loot.
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Seems BSO detectives knew more than they let on, requesting a meeting with the Ritchies in Lauderhill.
Tesfaye Richie was there and was immediately taken into custody. At BSO headquarters, Tes gave a statement, admitting his involvement in the crime that his brother had confessed to earlier in the week.
Judging by the BSO statement, detectives have built a solid case against the brothers.
BSO Crime Scene detectives processed the (murder) scene from 9 a.m. Monday until 3 a.m. Tuesday and collected several pieces of evidence at the Taco Bell and at the Ritchie home, including videotape, fingerprints, bloody shoe prints matching bloody sneakers left under the bed where Karari was sleeping, and DNA. Because BSO operates its own crime lab evidence and AFIS prints were processed immediately and led to a quick identification of the killers.
"BSO has the best detectives in the business and a crime lab that is second to none," Sheriff Al Lamberti said. "This case really shows why we need good people and a first class lab. Tikki Johnson didn't deserve to die but at least her family will have closure when she is laid to rest."