MIAMI — Taxpayer dollars will help cover the defense costs for a Florida woman charged with first-degree murder in the drowning death of her autistic 9-year-old son.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Daryl Trawick ruled in an order released Thursday that Patricia Ripley, 46, is indigent for certain costs that include depositions, private investigators and experts who specialize in trying to keep defendants off Florida’s Death Row, the Miami Herald reported. Similar death penalty cases have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in experts, investigators and other expenses.
Prosecutors objected, pointing out that her family owns an expensive home in South Florida and land in the Dominican Republic.
Ripley is still currently responsible for paying the $300,000 being charged by her private defense lawyers. If the judge finds her indigent for attorney fees, she’ll be represented by the Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office.
Ripley is accused of the May 2020 death of Alejandro Ripley, who suffered from severe autism and could not speak. She