The centerpiece of the State’s evidence against Brookmyer was the eyewitness testimony of Betty Boyer, who testified that on the night of the murder, she witnessed Richard Nitz repeatedly strike a young man in the head with a baseball bat. Boyer also testified that as Nitz assaulted the young man, she witnessed Brookmyer not “doing anything but standing there being quiet.” According to Boyer, after the man was lying on the ground, Brookmyer helped Nitz load the body into the trunk of a car and left the scene in the car with the body in the trunk. Rita was never found guilty of participating in the crime. She was charged with accountability — being present and not doing anything to avoid the crime, and for helping load the body into the trunk of the car. For this she received life without parole.
Fast forward to February 2013 when Betty Boyer, now known as Betty Lindsey, signed an affidavit recanting her testimony in the trail that convicted Rita Brookmyer Nitz of murder. “I was forced by prosecutor Garnatti to testify against Rita Nitz,” said Boyer. “The police and the prosecutor questioned me at least 7 or 8 times. Each time I was questioned, Mr. Garnatti put pressure on me to implicate Rita Nitz in the homicide of Michael Miley. The detectives and Mr. Garnatti told me I would lose my children if I did not testify against Rita Brookmyer Nitz and Richard Nitz. The detectives and Mr. Garnatti told me I would be charged with the homicide if I didn’t testify.” The affidavit reads on as Boyer lists parts of her false testimony. Rita’s appeal is in its early stages, and the end result is anyone’s guess.
By recanting her testimony, Betty Boyer’s fate is now open to the judicial system. Is it possible that Boyer could be subjected to perjury, and Rita lose her appeal? I spent three years of my life investigating and writing Rita’s story. Nothing would surprise me. After 25 years in prison, this might be Rita’s last hope for freedom.
For more information read, “The Rita Nitz Story: A Life Without Parole” by Larry L Franklin
Boyer’s affidavit can be found in the circuit court of Massac County, Illinois.