A woman present in an attempted robbery that led to the 2015 fatal shooting of Richmond police officer Daniel Ellis was sentenced Friday to three years of probation.
Rita Creech, 46, must testify against Raleigh Sizemore Jr., the alleged shooter of Ellis.
The investigation of an attempted gas station robbery took Ellis, 33, to an apartment on Ballard Drive on Nov. 4, 2015. While inside, Ellis was shot and he died two days later.
Creech was a passenger in a van that fled from the robbery scene. She pleaded guilty in May to criminal facilitation to commit robbery, a misdemeanor, and wanton endangerment, a felony.
Madison Circuit Judge William Clouse Jr. sentenced Creech to a total of three years and then probated that sentence.
If she violates the probation terms, Creech risks going to prison for three years. She had already served 368 days in jail, said public defender Miranda King.
Kelly Ellis of Adair County, Daniel’s father, said after the hearing that he anticipates Creech will violate her probation because she previously violated a condition of jail release when she tested positive for methamphetamine.
As part of her plea agreement, Creech will testify against Sizemore, who is charged with murder in Ellis’ death. Sizemore is also charged with unlawful imprisonment, being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun and two counts of attempted murder of a police officer.
Sizemore’s charge of unlawful imprisonment stems from the accusation that he held Creech at gunpoint in the Ballard Drive apartment before Ellis was shot.
The robbery investigation led Ellis, a seven-year veteran of the Richmond department, to Gregory Ratliff’s apartment in search of Sizemore, who had hidden with Creech in a back bedroom. Ratliff let Ellis into the apartment and allowed him to search. He told police no one else was there and that there were no weapons in the home, police said. Sizemore then allegedly shot Ellis as the officer crossed the threshold of the bedroom door.
If convicted at trial scheduled for next year, Sizemore could face the death penalty.
Sizemore and Ratliff appeared in Madison Circuit Court later Friday. Public defenders Rodney Barnes and Teresa Whitaker intend to ask the judge to move the trial from Richmond because of pretrial publicity. Barnes and Whitaker told the judge that they are awaiting a consultant’s report before filing the motion for a change of venue.
Sizemore will be arraigned in Madison District Court on Monday on a charge of fourth-degree assault for striking another inmate in the Madison County jail on June 14. An internal jail video recorded Sizemore hitting the other inmate with a closed fist, according to a citation. The other man suffered a black eye, swelling to the right side of the head and small, red lacerations, the citation said.