Rita Politte’s terrible murder in 1998 sent shockwaves across the quiet hamlet of Hopewell, Missouri. What stunned everyone the most was how her adolescent son, Michael, was convicted guilty of her murder. ’48 Hours: The Case Against Michael Politte’ takes viewers through the terrible case and shows how the police zeroed in on the youngster, resulting in him spending the most of his life behind the prison. Furthermore, it digs into the accused’s nearly two-decade-long efforts to prove his innocence.
Who is Michael Politte?
In 1998, 14-year-old Michael Politte shared a mobile home with his mother, Rita Politte, in Hopewell, Missouri. She had recently divorced his father, Ed Politte, and they had two older children, Chrystal and Melonie. Michael would spend time at both of his parents’ homes, and on December 4, 1998, he was alone at his mother’s house when he invited his schoolmate, Josh. Rita arrived home at midnight and quickly retired to their rooms for the night.
What Happened To Michael Politte?
The entire mobile house was filled with smoke when Michael and Josh awoke at about 6:30 a.m. on December 5, 1998. While the latter raced out to notify the neighbours, Michael attempted unsuccessfully to extinguish the fire with a garden hose and shouted to Rita. When he didn’t get an answer, he dashed to her room, horrified to find her bloodied on the floor, set on fire waist-high. When detectives arrived on the scene, they determined that Rita had suffered blunt-force trauma to her head and had been set ablaze. As the only people in the house beside the victim, Michael and Josh were subjected to intense police questioning in the days that followed.
Who was the Suspect?
For a short time, Ed Politte was considered a possible suspect since he had lately argued with Rita about the financial reparation the court had ordered him to pay her. Nonetheless, his alibi of being at work was proved, and the spotlight returned to Michael. The police alleged that the adolescent showed little emotion in the aftermath of his mother’s death and that his account contained flaws. Also, Josh allegedly informed authorities that he awoke at night to find Michael missing from his bed. Furthermore, the sniffer dog allegedly discovered gasoline on the 14-year-shoes; old’s fire investigators indicated that an accelerant was responsible for the fire.
What Else Happened to Michael Politte After the Incident?
Even though the law had named him Rita’s murderer, Michael maintained his innocence and attempted to prove it. As a result, he went to the Midwest Innocence Project, requesting assistance in reversing his conviction in court. He began his adventure to restore his freedom with the help of diligent lawyers, but the path ahead was far from smooth, and there was no progress for several years. Michael found some optimism two decades later, in 2021 when Missouri established legislation giving juvenile criminals a second chance. As a result, his legal team filed a petition in court, saying that the police investigation into Rita’s murder was flawed, biased, and deviated from scientific rationale.
Where is Michael Politte Now?
Michael and his team also questioned had made accusations based on his lack of emotion during the investigation. They contended that it is usual for a child of that age to respond to adversity silently. Michael was eventually given parole in February 2022 and released from Jefferson State Correctional Center the following April. He now seeks to resume his everyday life and get his conviction reversed, as the court still considers him to be his mother’s murderer, although he is free. According to accounts, he resides in St. Louis, Missouri, surrounded by loved ones who support him in his ongoing search for his mother’s killers. The police have restarted Rita’s murder inquiry as of 2022.