Lawyers for Miami mother Patricia Ripley on Friday submitted a “not guilty” plea to charges that she pushed her 9-year-old son with autism into a canal to drown.
At a virtual arraignment, prosecutors filed a “notice of intent” to seek an indictment of first-degree murder, since they are still waiting for a grand jury to reconvene due to the pandemic.
Under Florida law, only a person who is indicted by a grand jury can receive the death penalty.
Prosecutors have revealed that Ripley is facing charges of attempted murder, kidnapping, aggravated child abuse and filing a false police report.
They have surveillance video which apparently shows Ripley pushing her son Alejandro into a Kendall canal last month, although witnesses rescued him.
JUST IN: Patricia Ripley, the Miami mother accused of pushing her 9-year-old autistic son into a canal to drown, has pleaded not guilty. https://t.co/reWELww05Q
— Miami Herald (@MiamiHerald) June 12, 2020
Ripley then drove the child to another canal at a Kendall Lakes golf course, where he ultimately drowned.
His body was discovered the next day, just hours after she claimed to have been ambushed by two black men. The mother told police that the men demanded drugs and took her cellphone, tablet and son, before fleeing, prompting an Amber Alert.
According to the arrest affidavit, she told police, “He’s going to be in a better place.”
Ripley, who remains in jail without bond, did not appear in Friday’s virtual arraignment.