Lawyer tried to remove judge in Ricke case

He is accused of killing Algona officer

Kyle Ricke

ALGONA — An attorney for the man accused of killing an Algona police officer last fall unsuccessfully tried to get a judge to remove herself from the case.

Attorney Matthew L. Pittenger dropped his request for a hearing to consider the competency of Kyle L. Ricke, 43, of Algona.

Ricke is accused of shooting and killing Police Officer Kevin Cram on the night of Sept. 13, 2023, when Cram tried to arrest him on a warrant for harassment.

Earlier this month, Pittenger requested a hearing on Ricke’s competency to stand trial. In response, District Court Judge Nancy L. Whittenburg scheduled a hearing for Friday.

Pittenger requested that the hearing be canceled.

But at about the same time, he filed a motion asking Whittenburg to withdraw from the case on the grounds that she had presided over some previous cases involving Ricke.

Iowa Assistant Attorney General Ryan Baldridge objected to that motion, arguing that there was no evidence Whittenburg was biased against Ricke.

In her decision, Whittenburg acknowledged that she had presided over some previous cases involving Ricke. She wrote that in one instance, her only role was to dismiss the case. She wrote that in two other cases she issued rulings or orders that were favorable to Ricke. She added that she was not involved in the other cases that Pittenger included in his motion.

Whittenburg declined to remove herself from the case.

Ricke’s trial is set to begin on June 25.

On the evening of their fatal encounter, Cram found Ricke on Minnesota Street in Algona at about 7:30 p.m. and attempted to arrest him. Ricke shot him with a handgun and fled, according to criminal complaints filed against him.

Cram was taken to Kossuth Regional Health Center in Algona, where he died.

Late that night, Ricke was found near Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, and was arrested. He has been in jail since then, with bond set at $2 million cash only.


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