Iowa "Hero" Charged with Murder
An Iowa woman who was once hailed a hero is now on trial for the murder of the man she claimed was a home invader. INSIDE EDITION reports.
An Iowa homemaker was hailed as a hero for something she did a long time ago. Tracey Richter-Roberts says she gunned down a home invader who burst into her home.
But is she really a hero? Or is she a cold-blooded and calculating killer?
Now, ten years after the shooting, Richter-Roberts is on trial for murder.
"[She's] not a hero. [She's] a murderer," Mona Wehde says of Richter-Roberts.
Mona is the mother of the young man who was gunned down during the supposed home invasion.
"He had to have been terrified or had no clue what on Earth she had a gun for," Mona says.
Mona says Richter-Roberts invited her son Dustin over to talk about a potential job doing odd chores around the house.
"He was going down there to check out work. I mean trusted them, I believed them," she says.
Richter-Roberts claimed that Dustin suddenly attacked her. The story received so much attention that she was invited to appear on The Montel Williams Show in 2002 to talk about what happened.
"I was being strangled and I was kicking and thrashing and fighting and struggling and then I had passed out," she claimed.
The show even aired a dramatic reenactment of how Richter-Roberts says she ran to her safe, pulled out a handgun, and opened fire.
"I was screaming at him not to move, to stay put, not to get up, not to get up," she told Montel Williams. "I did what I had to do to protect my family."
Dustin was hit nine times.
Authorities ruled it an act of self-defense committed during a home invasion. But they always had their suspicions. Last year, the cold case got red hot and investigators charged Richter-Roberts with first-degree murder. They said when she gunned down the young man during the "home invasion," it wasn't what it seemed and that she was actually the villain.
"I thought, just like everybody else, it was a home invasion and she fought him off," says Dr. John Pittman.
Dr. Pittman, a cosmetic surgeon, was married to Richter-Roberts for seven years, until the marriage ended in a bitter divorce.
"[She was] as cold-hearted and cruel as any human being I've ever been around," he tells INSIDE EDITION.
Investigators now believe she killed the young man because he knew about her scheme to frame her husband and she feared he would betray her.
"My son was the fall guy," Mona says.
There were tears from Richter-Roberts when her son Bert testified on her behalf this week. He said that Dustin really was set on killing everyone in the house.
"He told me to stay in the room, my mom was dead and I was next," Bert testified.
Now it's up to a jury to decide if Richter-Roberts is a hero mom or a cold-blooded killer.
"She killed him. He's gone. She needs to pay for her crime," says Mona.
Richter-Roberts faces life in prison if convicted.
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