Man sentenced in 1981 cold case

Photo courtesy Callaway County Sheriff's Office
Conrad Schmitt III, 70
Photo courtesy Callaway County Sheriff's Office Conrad Schmitt III, 70

An O'Fallon man pleaded guilty Friday to the 1981 killing of Ricky Ridings that was deemed a cold case.

According to a Callaway County Prosecuting Attorney's Office news release, Conrad Schmitt III, 70, pleaded guilty to manslaughter for recklessly shooting and killing Ridings.

He was sentenced to 10 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections, the maximum sentence.

Investigation in the killing was at a standstill until June, 2017.

Schmitt -- who was serving a life sentence for murder -- admitted over a recorded prison phone call that he was involved in Ridings' murder.

Chris Wilson, Callaway County prosecuting attorney, presented the case in 2018 and got an indictment for murder in the first degree.

Schmitt's charge was amended from murder in the first degree to manslaughter, as part of a plea agreement that Schmitt would "personally answer questions posed by the victim's family," a release states.

Ridings' sister and niece got answers to questions about the case on Aug. 11.

"At the end of the sentencing, the Ridings family thanked Mr. Schmitt for his candor regarding his role in Ricky's murder, demonstrating a remarkable, and extremely unique, instance of restorative justice," Wilson said in a release.

Upcoming Events