Mary Woods II suspect seeks justice

By Amanda Hanson  - bio | email feedback

NEWPORT, AR (KAIT)- Richard Rife spent months in the Jackson County Detention Center. Time that he can never get back. It's a situation where he feels justice was not served.

"I went to ADC for my second offense domestic. You know like I said, I'll own up to something that I did but I'm not going to own up to something that I didn't do," he says.

Richard Rife says he spent 134 days behind bars for a crime he didn't commit. It all started one snowy night in January. "We were cruising around and we did end up in the park and I was showing him around the park because he wasn't from here. We did stop by the boat to look at it," says Rife.

It was the treads on his truck that led police to believe he was a suspect for the Mary Woods II sinking and arrested him for burglary and criminal mischief, with a 500,000 dollar bond.

Police claimed Rife crossed the guard and went onto the boat but he says he never admitted to such accusations.

"You could see our tracks where we had been on the dock that goes out to it. But half way up the dock there's a piece of chain you'd have to step over there wasn't foot prints past that," Rife argues.

But while Rife was behind bars at the Jackson County Detention Center he claims he was mistreated. "The head jailer came in there and offered people bribes you know cigarettes and trustee jobs to get me to confess," he says. "They won't give me my tennis shoes because somebody else had been wearing them another trustee," Rife explains.

But in late June, after officials discovered a rusty pipe caused the boat to sink, Rife was released. He was charged with criminal trespassing and sentenced to time served. "134 days for criminal trespassing and the maximum penalty is 90 days. It's actually a misdemeanor ticket and fine of 250 dollars," he says.

Even though time was served, he feels his reputation is no longer credible. "I can't get a job anywhere that I've applied. I can't even get a call back, because they've seen me in the paper and everything else so I'm pretty sure everybody recognizes me around here," say Rife.

Rife is in the process of looking for an attorney and plans to file a lawsuit.

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