Believing they can prove Gavin Ritzler intended to kill the toddler he was baby-sitting last weekend, Spokane County prosecutors on Wednesday changed the charge against him from manslaughter to second-degree murder.
Two-year-old Kory Holbrook died late Friday of severe head injuries. Police arrested Ritzler, 26, who lived with the child’s mother at 1320 N. Madelia.
An upstairs neighbor, Robert Johnson, told police he heard loud bangs coming from Ritzler’s apartment shortly before midnight.
Johnson knew Ritzler is a diabetic who suffers episodes where he becomes confused and bangs his head on the walls. He offered to get Ritzler some food and returned with some peaches. That’s when Johnson said he saw Ritzler, a body builder, holding the baby with his chest facing up and slamming his body to the floor.
Then Ritzler dropped the child. Medics were called to the scene but were unable to resuscitate the boy.
Kory’s mother, Rea Holbrook, was out of town and has refused to discuss the case with police.
Detectives presented additional evidence on the case to prosecutors Wednesday afternoon, and the murder charge was filed.
Ritzler is being held at the Spokane County Jail with bail set at $250,000.
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