BEL AIR, Md. (WJZ) — A Harford County teenager is in court, accused of killing his father back in 2012. Wednesday, he entered a guilty plea.
Mike Hellgren was in court and has more on what happened.
Victim impact statements were read from his grandmother and other relatives.
The prosecutors dropped the first-degree murder charge down to manslaughter. He got 10 years for that. Robert Richardson III got 20 years for using a handgun to commit a felony but 12 of those were suspended. In all, he got 18 years. It has to be served consecutively and he’s not eligible for parole for five years.
Richardson said he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from years of living in fear and being threatened by his dad.
Robert Richardson III was back in court for a plea hearing, two years after police say he confessed to killing his father at the family’s home in Bel Air and dumping the body in a pond near his grandmother’s home in Aberdeen.
Loved ones have rallied in support of Richardson, some claiming his dad abused him, leading him to commit the grisly murder. He was 16 at the time.
“I’m not saying that he shouldn’t be punished at all. I think that he did something wrong and he committed a crime and so the necessary actions should have to take place,” said one. “He’s also a kid and he needs therapy. Horrible things happened to him.”
A WJZ investigation uncovered documents showing police went to the home a dozen times in the year before the killing, but never for domestic violence or neglect.
Still, some say there were signs of trouble.
“What the hell did he do to that child to make him like that, because he was never like that,” said one woman.
Authorities charged Richardson as an adult.
His case has been a call to action for juvenile justice reforms, with advocates saying they should not be jailed with adults or subject to mandatory minimum sentences.
In a statement of facts read in court, a prosecutor said that Richardson took a swig of rum, smoked some pot and shot his father in the back of the head.
Richardson is taking medicine for depression.
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