The case against Timothy Ritter, 43, one of two defendants in an ongoing meth production case in Teton County, won’t be heard until February.

After hearing last Monday from Ritter’s attorney, Bill Fix, who confirmed that he will be making a general appearance on his client’s behalf and waived his client’s right to a speedy preliminary hearing, Judge James Radda agreed to set a Feb. 3 preliminary hearing in Ritter’s case. Prosecutors did not object.

A hearing last week on Ritter’s case was continued to Monday so the court could determine how Ritter would be represented.

William “Ian” Whipple, 52, is the other defendant. His case was earlier bumped up to Teton County District Court after Judge Radda found probable cause that Whipple was involved in the drug case.

Teton County Assistant Public Defender Elisabeth Trefonas has described Whipple as Ritter’s partner, who suffered domestic abuse and may or may not have known of the meth operation.

She has also argued that the searches at Whipple’s East Jackson home on the 700 block of Pearl Avenue were potentially problematic. Trefonas confirmed during Whipple’s hearing that officers didn’t give Whipple a Miranda warning when they were searching his home. But narcotics detective Toby Terrell of the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office said a warning wasn’t necessary since Whipple wasn’t detained at the time.

Both Ritter and Whipple are charged with conspiracy to produce methamphetamine and possession of a controlled substance precursor, each of which carry a maximum of 20 years in jail and a $25,000 fine, court files state. Additionally, Whipple is charged with felony possession of more than 3 grams of methamphetamine, which carries a maximum 7-year sentence and a $15,000 fine.

Radda had previously issued two warrants for Ritter, but has canceled both.

The first warrant, issued during the second part of Ritter’s initial appearance, was quickly canceled after Ritter showed up late.

The second was issued after Ritter failed to appear for his preliminary hearing. But Radda canceled the second warrant “out of an abundance of caution” after it appeared that a clerical error was at least partly to blame.

Contact Billy Arnold at 732-7063 or barnold@jhnewsandguide.com.

Teton County Reporter

Billy Arnold has covered government and policy since January 2020, sitting through hours of Teton County meetings so readers don't have to. He moonlights as a ski reporter, helps with pandemic coverage and sneaks away to climb when he can.

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