BEL AIR, Md. (WJZ)— A Harford County teenager has admitted to killing his father. Now those who know the suspect are speaking out about the crime.
Weijia Jiang takes a closer look at the possible motive in this case.
A judge ordered Robert Richardson III, 16, to be held without bail on charges he killed his 58-year-old father.
As the teen sits in jail, classmates at C. Milton Wright High School, where Richardson is a sophomore, are distraught.
“I just feel bad for him because they definitely don’t know the real story about it,” said Jordan Wells, classmate.
Students say word is barreling through the hallways that Richardson confided in several friends he was abused at home.
“He couldn’t resort to anything else ’cause he tried to get help before so he didn’t know what to do so he just did what he did,” said Todd Kirk, C. Milton Wright senior.
Off camera, Richardson’s half-sister Abigail tells WJZ her brother is a good kid.
Neighbors of the family say they believe Richardson was driven to the edge of a long-time conflict between father and son.
They say the victim often had fits of rage at the home, where the fatal shooting happened.
Geraldine Martin lives a few feet away.
“It seems like everyone is talking about it’s such a terrible thing that happened, but no one is talking about the fact that it could have been prevented if something was done, if someone called the police beforehand,” Martin said.
Sheriff’s office reports show in the past six months, officers responded to the house a dozen times. But police say none of the calls were for domestic violence.
Twice, Richardson was reported missing in December; he ran away for five days.
“He had an opportunity to speak with the deputy and explain why he had left the home. What he explained was he had been in trouble earlier in the day with law enforcement,” said Monica Worrell, Harford County Sheriff’s Office.
In fact there are two juvenile cases pending against Richardson for breaking and entering and drug possession. And now, he’s charged as an adult with murder.
Because Richardson’s confession was videotaped, he could be eligible for the death penalty.