Family remembers daughter killed in Georgetown Co, asks for just legal system

Family members of a woman who was killed last July in Georgetown County are asking for accountability and transparency in the state’s judicial system.
Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 5:11 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 27, 2023 at 6:47 PM EDT
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GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Family members of a woman who was killed last July in Georgetown County are asking for accountability and transparency in the state’s judicial system, but more specifically in Georgetown County.

John Ashley Altman, 44, and Emily Elizabeth Richitelli, 30, both from Georgetown, died from gunshot wounds on July 21, 2022, according to Coroner Chase Ridgeway.

Emily’s mother, Ann, and brother, Bryan Jordan, recalled the night they heard the news.

“The coroner stepped up, and he said, ‘Miss Stewart, I’m sorry to inform you, but your daughter has been shot and killed,’” Ann says.

Ronnie Legrand Todd Jr., 42, of Georgetown, is charged in connection to the shooting deaths.

“I immediately said his name and said, ‘Ron Todd has killed my girl,’” Ann says.

Related: Coroner IDs victims of Georgetown double shooting

Todd, who deputies and her family say was Emily’s ex-boyfriend, has had over 30 previous dismissed charges against him, including restraining orders, unlawful possession of weapons, disorderly conduct and driving under suspension.

“He had a lot of charges; he had been in trouble his whole life,” Ann says. “He had been protected, I believe, by family members who carried some weight in the community and therefore had never really suffered the consequences of any of his actions. Excuses were made for him his entire life.”

Emily fought an addiction battle, but at the time of her death, she was a peer support specialist and a mentor to people at Oxford House Recovery in Georgetown. She also was a mother to two children.

“We grew up together, and she was a good kid,” Jordan adds. “She went through her phases, as we all have ups and downs, and she had become a fantastic adult in a very short period of time. She changed lives in a small town very quickly; her turnaround was amazing.”

Her family started a nonprofit in her honor, Emily’s Way Foundation, after her passing to fight against domestic violence, for judicial reform in the state and to support addiction recovery organizations.

“There’s truly no oversight,” Jordan says. “And if judges, especially in small towns, continue to allow people to walk the streets that we know should not be walking the streets and get bonded out continuously, he really never served any time for anything.”

“Yes, everyone is innocent till proven guilty before a judge and jury; however, that doesn’t mean we have to put them back out on the streets with the citizens of this state until they’ve been tried and found innocent or guilty,” Ann adds.

Emily’s Way Foundation holds fundraising events throughout the Lowcountry to raise money supporting addiction recovery programs and judicial reform.

“She was magnetic,” Ann says. “She was always being motivational, and she just was a shining light.”

Todd’s next bond hearing in the case of Emily and Altman’s deaths is set for May 11.