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.

Comments (11)
  1. Eunice says:

    The death penalty for a 16 year old who was likely emotionally abused, and certainly emotionally struggling and reaching out for help in ways he thought were safe like mentioning it to friends? There comes a point when someone is tortured emotionally that they simply snap. Maybe he thought his father would kill HIM if he mentioned his emotional, and perhaps physical, abuse to police. The death penalty would simply be revenge in this case for sick people who think two deaths are better than one. This is not a case of a serial killer who would be out to kill others, therefore who must be stopped by being sentenced to death. No, the killing was a final, sad breaking point in an ongoing clash between two people. The death penalty is not the solution in this case.

    1. Matthew James Smith says:

      DON’T WORRY, Md won’t execute cop killers or people who kill their children….there is ZERO chance hie’ll get the death penalty, however, I would have rather seen him charged as a juvenile given the abuse.

  2. Mary says:

    I agree with you Eunice and he is by law a child but being charged as an adult. Maryland has no sympathy for our youth. Yes, murder is wrong but from what his neighbors and fellow students are saying, sounds like he was clearly a victim of abuse and just lost it.

  3. Steven Spiegel says:

    Yeah dont let a kid drink until he is 21 dont let him smoke till 18 but if they commit a crime charge them As adults. This makes no sense . There would put a chikd to death but dont let them Drink of smoke cause it can kill them . Im not saying let kids drink but in saying ihow can he be a child not allowed to do many things but yet be charged as a adult ?

  4. jimmy says:

    a 16 year old can be charged as an adult for certain serious crimes because at that point the 16 year old is aware that what they are doing is wrong and the consequences of their acts. i have no knowledge if the young man was abused or not but that would not effect the ability to charge him as an adult. it could be used by his attorney in the proceedings to mitigate his culpability. generally under 7 you are considered unable to form criminal intent, then 7-13 your ability to form criminal intent is weighed based off numerous factors. if his lawyer can prove long term pattern of abuse the kid wont get sentenced to a day a jail time.

  5. Sharon says:

    It would have been great if he could have been helped by someone to stop the abuse by his father. Now two lives have been taken. How unfortunate for both of them. My prayers go out to him and his family.

  6. Will says:

    I lived in Harford Co. during my teen years, and was physically and emotionally abused. The comments from the sheriffs dept. spokesperson shows her lack of familiarity with abuse cases. if Robert told the deputies about abuse they would have just told his father, and left the scene leaving Robert alone with his father and no protection from retribution… Believe me I know what happens then. Harford Co. Sheriffs Dept. Maryland State Police, Benson Barracks, and Harford County Social Services leave a lot to be desired for aiding abused children.

  7. numnuts says:

    anytime the political regime have to come to a house a half dozen times over the months means there are some dayum problems in that house……

  8. Lacey says:

    He can’t be charged with the death penalty because the Supreme Court decision of Roper v. Simmons outlawed the death penalty for minors in 2005.

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