A judge has set an October trial date for a Miami-Dade mother accused of drowning her autistic son in a canal in 2020.
Patricia Ripley, 47, faces charges of first degree murder and attempted murder in the May 2020 murder of her 9-year-old son Alejandro, who was autistic and non-verbal.
Prosecutors have already announced that they will seek the death penalty against Ripley. His attorney previously said Ripley would plead not guilty.
In a brief hearing on Wednesday, the judge handling the case set the trial to start for October 24, after Ripley’s lawyer and a prosecutor said they had not reached an agreement on a plea agreement in the case.
Police say Ripley took her son to a lake behind a residential complex near 103rd Avenue and Kendall Drive and attempted to leave him in the water to drown. Police said video footage confirmed Ripley pushed her son into the water and left him alone.
At the time, witnesses told NBC 6 they saw a person running into the lake to rescue the young boy after neighbors screamed for help.
That same evening, police said Ripley managed to kill her son at another location, a golf course flume, where his body was later discovered by authorities.
An Amber Alert had been issued for the boy after police said Ripley told investigators he had been abducted by two men.
According to an arrest report, Ripley recanted her story and admitted she led the boy into the canal, saying “he’s going to be in a better place.”
Ripley has been held without bond since her arrest.