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Robert Davies cleared of murdering Lavern Ritch

An American man who killed a fitness instructor from south Wales – who had tried to help him after a bar fight – has been convicted of reckless manslaughter and weapons offences but cleared of murder.

Lavern Ritch, 37, was stabbed while on holiday in New Jersey in 2007.

Watch Dominic Valitis’ report on the verdict

Penarth-born Mr Ritch offered assitance to Robert Davies, 49, after Davies had been attacked in a bar in Margate, New Jersey.

Davies told the court that he feared for his life on the night Mr Ritch was stabbed, thinking he was being attacked by a gang member.

The jury heard Mr Ritch held up his hands and said: “I’m just trying to help you” before Mr Davies stabbed him.

Interview with Lavern Ritch's brother, Anthony

Davies began the trial by conducting his own defence but then stepped down and a defence lawyer was appointed.

The jury found Davies guilty of reckless manslaughter, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.

He was acquitted of murder and aggravated manslaughter.

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