VAN WERT — Jurors in the murder trial of Christopher Peters began their deliberations Friday following closing arguments from attorneys.
Peters, 27, of Delphos, is charged in the Nov. 15, 2016, death of 15-month-old Hayden Ridinger. The child’s body was found dead inside an apartment at The Old Lincoln Inn in Delphos.
Peters pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated murder, felonious assault and endangering children in connection with the infant’s death. Death penalty specifications were initially included in the murder charge but have since been removed.
The child’s mother, 24-year-old Valerie Dean, faces involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment charges in connection with the infant’s death.
Defense attorneys said Thursday that Dean would be the lone witness called to the stand Friday as testimony in the case wrapped up. She was present in the courthouse Friday, along with her attorney, but was never called to take the stand.
Van Wert County Prosecutor Eva Yarger and Special Prosecutor Juergen Waldick presented closing arguments on behalf of the state late Friday morning. Lima attorney Bob Grzybowski, representing Peters, summed up the defense’s case before jurors.
The jury of six men and six women then received a lengthy set of instructions from Judge Martin Burchfield, including their right to find the defendant guilty of lesser charges of murder or involuntary manslaughter in lieu of a conviction on the aggravated murder charge.
They began their deliberations following a lunch break.