Thursday September 30, 2004
The widow of Richard Ricci, who was wrongly suspected in the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart and died while being held in prison, has settled her wrongful death lawsuit against the Utah Department of Corrections for $150,000.
Angela Ricci sued the Department of Corrections and the Salt Lake City police after her husband died of a brain hemorrhage in the Utah State Prison and after the arrest of Brian David Mitchell, a homeless street preacher, and his wife, Wanda Barzee, for the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart.
Ricci remained the top suspect in the Smart kidnapping long after his death in August 2002.
Smart was not found with Mitchell and Barzee until March 12, 2003.
Ricci was never charged in the Smart case, but he was arrested nine days after the abduction for violating his parole by drinking a beer.
He was first held in the Salt Lake County Jail and returned to Utah State Prison on June, 2002. Two months later he died.
"There's no way to compensate for a life that should have been," Angela Ricci said. "You can't put a monetary value on a human life."
Her lawsuit against the Salt Lake City Police Department for violating her husband's rights through false arrest and imprisonment, libel and slander and baseless prosecution, is still pending.