Stepmom pleads not guilty to murder in scalded boy’s death

LEBANON, Ohio (AP) — Defense attorneys have entered a not-guilty plea for an Ohio murder suspect accused of putting her 4-year-old stepson in scalding water as punishment the day before he was found dead.

The charges against 24-year-old Franklin resident Anna Ritchie also include involuntary manslaughter.

Judge Robert Peeler granted a prosecutor’s request to increase Ritchie’s bond Wednesday from $350,000 to $1 million. Ritchie could post 10 percent.

Prosecutors say Ritchie put Austin Cooper into water estimated at 130 degrees for at least 20 minutes to “teach him a lesson” in March. Prosecutors say the boy was bleeding and had skin coming off his legs.

Authorities concluded he died of shock from blood and fluid loss resulting from his burns.

Ritchie’s trial is scheduled for late September.

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