Friday, October 28, 2005

Update on Richardson Case

Several times in the last month, I have discussed the case of Raymond Richardson, a convicted kidnapper whose prison sentence was reduced by 2/3 by the state Supreme Court and is now facing trial on new charges and is a suspect in the murder of a woman the State Police found stabbed to death in the back seat of Richardson's car during a traffic stop on I-79 last month.

The 3-2 decision of the state Supreme Court that reduced Richardson's sentence in the kidnapping case from 30 years to 10 years has been widely criticized for both its leniency per se and that Richardson's mother worked at the court at the time. Richardson served just 5 years of that sentence due to good time credits that mandated that he be released after serving only half the new sentence for his good behavior while in prison.

Charleston TV station WCHS reports that Richardson will go to trial in December on charges of attempted murder, malicious wounding, and domestic battery in an unrelated case. Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Bill Charnock (R) said, "Had the original sentence been upheld, [Richardson] would still be in prison."

The good news, if there can be any in this case, is that Richardson is facing the same circuit judge who gave the maximum sentence for the 1999 case and Warren McGraw is no longer on the state Supreme court to form a majority with Joe Albright and "Let 'em Loose Larry" Starcher.