Margate Murder Trial Set to Begin

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The trial of a North Wildwood man accused of murdering a Welsh tourist back in 2007 is set to begin in Atlantic County.

49-year-old Robert Davies is charged with stabbing 37-year-old Lavern Ritch to death on Washington Avenue in Margate in August of 2007.

Ritch was a British reality show contestant and swimming coach. Prosecutors say he was killed after he tried to break up a fight between Davies and another man outside of a bar.


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Members of the British media, who have followed the case closely, plan to head to South Jersey later during the week to cover the trial.

“This is a big story over here,” said ITV Wales correspondent Carl Edwards.

“Lavern Ritch was a pretty high-profile member of society in Cardiff which is the capital of Wales. People will be watching very closely to find some sort of outcome.”

Lavern’s family also plans to travel from Wales to Mays Landing to attend the trial.

“Every moment we got notified of another delay and at last after almost four years now, we’ve finally come to a point where a trial is going to go ahead,” said Lavern’s brother Tony.

“It’s important that the court has a true picture of my brother,” said Lavern’s sister Venetta Ritch-Shapland.

Davies has pleaded not guilty to the charges and remains in jail. If convicted, he faces life in prison. He is also serving as his own lawyer at the trial.

Lavern’s relatives say that they will serve as his representation.

Jury selection is set to continue on Tuesday with opening statements possibly on Wednesday. The trial could last up to a month.

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