WINCHESTER — A Stephens City man who beat and briefly kidnapped his estranged girlfriend and brandished a knife on Sept. 29 has received a six-year sentence, with all but four months of time served suspended.

In a plea bargain on Thursday in Frederick County Circuit Court, Nicholas James Ritter, 24, of the 200 block of Brunswick Road, was sentenced on abduction, assault and battery and damaging a phone charges. The sentence includes two years of supervised probation and no contact with the victim. He also must complete a batterer’s intervention class.

Marie E. Acosta, county assistant commonwealth’s attorney who prosecuted the case, said after the sentencing that state sentencing guidelines recommended a minimum of no jail time and a maximum of up to six months with a three-month midpoint. Acosta said she was unable to consult the victim about the deal because her phone was disconnected.

Attorney Martin R. Scheller, who represented Ritter, didn’t return calls on Thursday. However, Acosta said Ritter entered into the agreement to avoid a trial where he might have been sentenced to additional jail time if convicted.

Ritter abducted the woman from a home at 111 Moons Place. He pulled a knife on a man who tried to intervene and threatened to shoot him.

Ritter struck the woman, pulled her into his car by her neck and took her phone when she tried to call 911. Police tracked her phone and found her at her home, where Ritter had left her. She had a bloody and swollen nose and blood was on her arm. He was arrested a short time later at an Interstate 81 entrance ramp.

Ritter’s criminal record includes a conviction for carrying a concealed weapon.

— Contact Evan Goodenow at

(2) comments


It disappoints me that Mr. Ritter seems to be getting all the breaks for his abduction and assault and battery of his ex girlfriend as well as damaging her phone. There seems to be a good deal of cultural prejudice against the women, especially when they have been previously associated with the perpetrator. We need to change our cultural attitudes toward the victims of violent crimes. Do they have to be beaten and left for dead or killed before there is any punishment. Shame on our justice system. I don't trust that he will leave her alone and avoid contact with her. Also, threatening the person who tried to intervene with a knife. Ridiculously light punishment for this man.


I agree.

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