By Mike Hellgren

BEL AIR, Md. (WJZ) — The case of a teenager who shot his father to death has divided Harford County.

As Mike Hellgren reports, a day after taking a plea deal, the teen called the woman who has been his steadfast supporter since the killing.

The murder happened two years ago inside their house, and Bob Richardson III has continually turned to one woman who now considers him like a son.

“Bob was going to die if he stayed in that house. That I can say for certain,” said Eileen Siple.

Siple considers herself an unlikely advocate for Bob Richardson, who at 16, shot his dad in the back of the head, claiming he endured horrific abuse for years.

Though he was her daughter’s classmate, Siple had never heard of him before.

“I come from about as straight-laced as you can possibly get,” Siple said. “I never in a gazillion years thought that I would be involved with anybody in a jail.”

But her feeling that the justice system let him down led her to action. He now calls daily and has written dozens of letters.

“The letters are mostly about the things he can’t bring himself to talk about yet,” said Siple.

His picture hangs among those of her close friends and family. And after accepting a plea deal that could put him behind bars for 18 years, Richardson called her.

“He very much wanted to make a statement in court yesterday. He wanted to tell his family how sorry he is that all of this happened. And he couldn’t, he was a mess,” Siple said. “The decision was made for whatever reason to put him under suicide watch.”

She knows there are some in the community who believe Richardson got off easy. And while she condemns the murder, she says this case is an example that no one should ignore signs of abuse.

“Bob felt there was no other way out for him,” Siple said.

Richardson will serve his time at a youthful offender program at Patuxent.

Richardson’s grandmother said in a statement that the life wasn’t her grandson’s to take, but her son would have wanted her to love him anyway.

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