BEL AIR, Md. (WJZ) — A Harford County teenager killed his father, leaving friends and neighbors with more questions than answers.

Vic Carter investigates the stunning crime and why so many are rushing to the teen’s defense.

Inside one Bel Air Home, something terrible happened. Sixteen-year-old Robert Richardson told police he grabbed a gun and killed his father and it was no accident.

“He didn’t wake up that morning and say `I’m gonna blow my father’s brains out.’ That’s been coming for a long time,” said cousin Mary Jane Richardson. “He was terrorized. He was terrified of his father.”

Robert Richardson’s friends say he wore dirty, worn-out clothes that didn’t fit and was often black and blue.

“He had bruises a couple times,” said Robert’s friend, Hannah Siple. “Sometimes on his face. Most of the time on his arms, like chest, collarbone…just everywhere.”

“I just wish I could have done something for him before,” said Robert’s friend, Josh Eisner.

Vic Carter met with family, friends and neighbors who have started a Free Robert Richardson Facebook page to raise money for his defense.

“There’s a child that needs somebody’s help and we may be late but we’re here now,” said parent Eileen Siple.

“We know what he did was wrong,” said Crystal Testerman. “We just want him to have a shot at a future. That’s why we’re all here.”

Few knew Richardson’s father better than his cousin Mary Jane, who grew up with him and still lives just a few miles away.

“My first thought was `What the hell did he do to that child to make him like that?'” Mary Jane Richardson said. “‘Cause he was never like that.”

There’s no doubt that Robert Richardson killed his father, but what many in this Bel Air neighborhood are asking is whether there were warning signs that were missed and could authorities have acted before it was too late?

“I know that there were so many signs that something was wrong in that house and too many people looked the other way,” Eileen Siple said.

WJZ obtained documents which show Harford County Sheriff deputies responded to the Richardson’s home 16 times, but never for domestic violence. While people now say the teen was in danger, the Sheriff’s Department never suspected abuse.

Social Services refused to tell WJZ whether they were involved.

“I felt the boy has been so let down and no love and no nurturing since his mother died,” Mary Jane Richardson said.

While rare, children killing parents does happen, including cases in Cockeysville and Towson. Each time, people asked whether something could have been done to prevent it.

“We are all responsible for the children. We all are, every one of us. Every single person who looks the other way is guilty,” Eileen Siple said.

All the Free Richardson supporters can focus on now is seeing that the courts treat Robert as a troubled teen who was pushed into pulling the trigger.

“Justifiable homicide. You’re darn right I believe it,” Mary Jane Richardson said.

Richardson is charged as an adult with murder and is being held without bail. So far, the Free Robert Richardson Facebook page has raised $4,500 for his defense.

Comments (31)
  1. Mike miller says:

    Marry Jane has not seen or talked to the richardsons in probably 15 years but now she knows so mutch about them? If Robert was so afraid of his father why would he post on fasebook how he knocked his fathers teeth out??WJZ and vewers need to start doing some research before airing these crazy statements.
    Tell Mary Jane to go smoke some more if she thinks that is justifiable!!!

    1. kathy says:

      wow. dont know who you are but you are the first one after all this time that actually knows this family. maryjane is still p@#$ed off because bobby got that house instead of her dad leaving it to her greedy a#%.. who are you.

  2. robertryan says:

    Murder by a gun is never the answer to any situation. This dumb kid should have removed himself from the home. Many people including his church would have helped. Kids need to grow up, not smoke dope, drink booze etc.

    1. dennis_radigan_jr says:

      Well he is my cousin and he was supposed to live me 4 months before this happened. my parents were going to allow him to live with us but his father wouldnt let him. Me and my family would give them food and we even bought robert new clothes and new shoes.

      1. kathy says:

        should have bought new ones and not rags.

      2. Eileen says:

        People are awfully hateful. God bless you and your family for trying to help.

    2. georgeanna says:

      You are completely right. He doesnt have am excuse.

  3. larry says:

    Dennis, Yadda , yadda. yada, yeah, sure.

  4. bets says:

    All these people speaking out where were you before the boy reached his limits! A child is not going to take this way out unless really pushed. Where were the teachers and neighbors before this tragedy!

  5. Carol Sundell says:

    Why are all of you so nasty?? Did you ever stop to think he needed help? If so, why didn’t you? And to make a comment about him posting about his father on Facebook, are you kidding me?

    What is wrong with all of you??

    1. kathy says:

      the post is there. truth hurt? maybe it wasnt the kid being abused. do you know them.

    2. rdnkkkgrl says:

      im telling you i didnt even know the child and im guessing after losing his mother which probably held the glue together in that family just saying…..the kid was showing up with bruises he may not of been able or too scared to get away from that situation someone should of looked into it more than once i doubt kids are going to be able to report it to social services but they could of went to a school official i.e; guidance counciler,principle, teacher come on it doesnt take to much common sense to put 2+2 together maybe JUST MAYBE the aunt already new from experience how psychotic the father really was thats why she completely removed herself from the picture as for face book postings oh please people get real isnt that the main thing to do now is for kids to get on fb and post stupid stuff 1/2 true 1/2 untrue ………get real y dont you go check and see what your own children pick up and post as young as 5-6 yrs olds have fb accounts i gauren damn tee you u go see what your kids are writing on fb you ll be too floored to think about what this kid posted thats all i can do is pray for that boy and leave it in gods hands

      1. freddie says:

        Hey girl, go back to school & lear to spell, where U from Dundalk or Glen Dirty?

    3. Eileen says:

      No kidding, Carol. Not sure how some people can sleep at night, knowing they spent their day bashing a child in need.

      1. dennis_radigan_jr says:

        exactly people have no heart

    4. dennis_radigan_jr says:

      thank you Carol Sundell at least some one isnt being negative and bobby did abuse robert i even stayed the night at his house and i have witnessed it we even came to my house one morning just to get something to eat because they had no food in that house so robert is the victim in this not his father

      1. Concerned says:

        Dennis, Have you spoken with his attorney? Im sure they could use witnesses.

  6. just askin" says:

    If he gets tried for murder, I hope that potential jurors have the good sense to not commit yet another wrong by convicting this boy. I honestly don’t know what took him so long to break. The boy wore rags, was emotionally abused and physically beaten. It is a failure of the system, and the boy will suffer this emotional trauma forever.

    1. rdnkkkgrl says:

      i sooo agree the cops are too damn lazy to look into it when they were out to his house several times cops are trained to see the signs along w/school officials what is up with all that i would of shot him along time ago and now an innocent boys gonna suffer the consequences and wether he gets charged or not hes gotta live with it i bet i can almost gauren damn tee you that every time the sheriff’s dept came out there that boys dad would come out all concerned and smelling like a rose thats how psycho people usually act

      1. dennis_radigan_jr says:

        you can just look at the house and the cars they drove to tell they had no money

  7. dennis_radigan_jr says:

    im putting this out there to change peoples views.
    Bobby got money from the state to feed robert. Bobby would go out and spend that money on gas cigarettes coffee and mostly weed. Bobby was always stoned and Bobby put him self before his son. Bobby didnt care about him. One night at my house he had gotten drunk and was feeling suicidle. Robert went out there and STOPED his father from jumping out in front of a car and killing him self. But then Bobby tried to throw robert in to the street but it didnt work. Robert cared for his father even when his father didnt care about him. Now that i have shared this with you i now hope that the negative people out there will change your mind and feel bad for Robert and not Bobby. im not saying that i didnt care about Bobby but that Bobby is not the victium Robert is. thank you for reading this.

    1. Eileen says:

      Thanks Dennis. Please call the private investigator. It really will help. That must have been terribly hard for you to say, but I’m so grateful that you said it. God bless you for caring about this child that needs our help.

  8. Concerned says:

    Dennis,If you have not already, Please contact:
    Jessie Green
    Forensic Investigator
    Law Office of Marc G. Snyder – preferred method

  9. think about it says:

    Hello. I’ll start by saying, this is tragic. Next, I want to address all the armchair psychiatrists. You are cracking me up! The idea that any rational human being could expect a) a boy who is going through adolescence, b) who’s mother died relatively recently, c) who’s father was negligent at best and abusive at worst and, d) who has a very limited education… to make perfectly reasonable and responsible decisions when faced with all of this…is preposterous. Do you remember being a teenager? Do you remember thinking that you had all the answers and how WRONG you were? Here’s a question, given what you know now, would you make the same decisions as an adult that you made as a teenager? How skewed do you think your world view might have been if you had all of the rest of this baggage? I am sure this boy did say he knocked his Dad’s teeth out. How powerless a child must feel in his situation. How empty and terrified. How desperate a boy must be to prove to his peers that he is strong and worthy.

    How small the rest of you must feel, right Freddie?

    1. Eileen says:

      Perfect! Thanks for being the voice of reason!

      1. think about it says:

        Any time.

  10. betty says:

    did anyone think about the fact that he was to scared to say anything to anybody. if all was going on in that house as family and friends say. then yes he was scared. more then one person tryed to get him out of there his father said no.he even ran away to get out but because of his age he had to return to PLACE HE DID NOT WANT TO BE. think about it getting yelled at all the time. bruse’s seen by friends. you can only push some one so far before they snap…

  11. Brenda says:

    Where in the hell were all you concerned people when this boy was being neglected and/or abused. You all should be ashamed of yourselves. Don’t act like you’re doing the kid a favor now by coming to his defense. It would not have come to this had someone stepped up and acted like the caring human they’re trying to be now.

    1. Eileen says:

      Brenda, most of us have never met Bob. We are stepping up now because we feel as if someone should help him. I agree with you that someone should have helped him before the fact, and we can’t do anything about that, but we are going to do everything in our power to give him a chance now,

  12. lucy says:

    i cannot understand everyone’s support of this boy. many, many years ago a boy, same age, same school, same area, blew his parents away, too. he had NO supporters. what’s with todays society? now we feel sorry and give money to killers, simply because they are minors??????

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