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Ritch bought leggings, gauze an hour after Gonzales death

Jury at murder trial shown video of Ritch shopping on June 16, 2017

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caption The jury was shown a video of Samanda Rose Ritch shopping an hour before Nadia Gonzales was found dead.
Marianne Lassonde

A store manager testified Wednesday that Samanda Rose Ritch bought the same kind of leggings and medical supplies that police seized after Nadia Gonzales was found dead.

Shannen Fahie described for the jury what Ritch bought on June 16, 2017, approximately an hour after Gonzales was found inside a black hockey bag in a stairwell of a Dartmouth apartment.

Fahie has been the store manager of Bargain Basket at 850 Main St. in Dartmouth for six years. She told the jury that two years ago, the store was selling the exact brand and colour of leggings that were found on the day of Ritch’s arrest.

Ritch, 22, and Calvin Joel (CJ) Maynard Sparks, 26, are on trial in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax on charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder. They’re accused of stabbing Gonzales to death and trying to kill John Patterson.

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Gonzales, of Hammonds Plains, was found at  33 Hastings Dr. in Dartmouth at 7:42 p.m. on June 16, 2017. She had been stabbed 37 times. Patterson, 72, was found outside the apartment building with six stab wounds.

The jury was shown footage from a surveillance video the police obtained from Bargain Basket. The 13-minute video showed Ritch purchasing rubbing alcohol, benzoyl peroxide, gauze, bandages and a pair of pink leggings between 8:37 p.m. and 8:50 p.m.

The Crown showed Fahie a photo of a pair of leggings that were seized from Ritch’s residence at 3345 Federal Ave. after she was arrested on June 17, 2017.

Fahie said she was able to recognize the leggings because she had ordered them at the time and was in charge of inventory at the store.

Ritch’s arrest

The Crown also called Samuel Ritch, the accused’s twin brother, to the stand.

Samuel testified that he had seen Ritch and Sparks standing by the back door of 3345 Federal Ave.  at around 9 p.m. on June 16. He said he did not notice what they were wearing or if they were injured.

He said he was awakened at around 4:30 a.m. on June 17 by police pounding on the door, asking if Ritch was inside. Samuel said he found his sister in the kitchen and informed her that the police were outside. He said she replied: “Just tell them that I’m not here.”

Both Samuel and Samanda Ritch were arrested that morning along with their younger brother. Samuel and the brother were released.

Samuel said he noticed Ritch’s bandaged hands once in the back of the police car.

When asked by Ritch’s defence lawyer, Peter Planetta, if he knew Sparks prior to June 16, Samuel responded: “No, I did not.”

The trial, presided over by Justice Christa Brothers, has been extended by a week. It continues Thursday.


Nov. 28, 2017: An earlier version of this story misstated the time that Ritch was in the store.

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About the author

Marianne Lassonde

Marianne is a journalism student at the University of King's College. She calls Sherbrooke, Quebec, home. When she is not reporting, she is either...

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