RITA POLITTE was a mother of three living a normal life before she was tragically murdered in 1998.
Her 14-year-old son was the prime suspect in her murder.
Who was Rita Polette?
Rita Politte was the woman who attracted media attention after her brutal murder on December 4, 1998.
She died at her home in Hopewell, Missouri, at the age of 40.
She divorced her ex-husband before she died.
She had three children before she died – Chrystal, Melonie and Michael.
Her daughters Chrystal and Melonie lived apart in their 20s while their son Michael split time between her and her ex-husband.
She reportedly worked at a local bar before her death.
Who Killed Rita Politte?
As reported in “48 Hours”, on December 4, 1998, the then 14-year-old Michael Politte invited his school friend Josh Sansoucie to his house for a sleepover.
However, the sleepover became a crime scene when Michael and Josh woke up just before 6:30 a.m. to find their house filled with smoke.
The two boys crawled to the front door and Michael called for his mother.
However, his mother did not answer his cries.
Michael went into his mother’s room and made a gruesome discovery – his mother had been beaten to death and set on fire.
Josh and Michael were repeatedly questioned by police in the hours and days following the murder.
Both denied any involvement. They were sleeping a few rooms down when the crime took place.
However, Michael was arrested two days after committing the crime for his mother’s murder.
Pinning it on him, the cops say Michael showed, among other things, a lack of emotion after the brutal death of his mother.
They also said that an accelerator sniffer dog found a chemical used to spread fire on Michael’s shoes and that Michael failed a vocal stress test, which is controversial and often inadmissible in court.
Where is Michael now?
After being arrested and taken into custody in 1998, Michael eventually came to trial and was convicted in 2002.
The Midwest Innocence Project took over Michael’s case after he approached them five years after his conviction.
“Mike was convicted because he was a kid, plain and simple,” Megan Crane, one of the attorneys fighting for Michael’s freedom, told 48 Hours.
“They said… he wasn’t emotional enough. … Trauma doesn’t look like what people think it should look like.”
Michael’s new legal team worked on his case for years.
They found flaws in the scientific evidence used to convict Michael, such as prosecutors’ claims that an accelerant was used to set Rita on fire – Michael’s attorneys claim there is no evidence of this.
There is also no evidence that fire accelerant was on Michael’s shoes.
One of his attorneys, Mark Emison, said a chemical used in the shoe-making process was incorrectly identified as gasoline.
The Missouri State Crime Lab concurred with this finding. In 2020, the lab wrote: “…it is now known that solvents in shoe adhesives have similarities to gasoline. … But that this knowledge was not common knowledge in the late 1990s.”
Michael’s attorneys believe police failed to properly investigate his mother’s murder and have filed court documents listing alternative suspects.
According to 48 Hours, Michael claims to know who really killed his mother.
However, it wasn’t the Midwest Innocence Project that freed Michael.
In 2021, Missouri passed legislation giving juvenile delinquents found guilty of major crimes a second chance, and as a result, Michael was paroled.
In April 2022, Michael was released from prison at the age of 38 after being incarcerated at the age of 14.
However, he still has a conviction on his record for his mother’s murder.
He told 48 Hours that his freedom was not enough. He remains determined to clear his name and is confident.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6775223/who-was-rita-politte/ Who was Rita Polette? | The US sun