The Bel Air teen who admitted killing his father in their home Monday night appeared in Harford County District Court Wednesday afternoon for a bail review hearing, calmly answering a handful of questions as family members looked on.
Robert C. Richardson III appeared via closed circuit television as Public Defender Lynne McChrystal requested “a reasonable bail” for the 16-year-old defendant. The C. Milton Wright High School sophomore listened as the judge explained the four charges Richardson faces in connection with the fatal shooting of Robert C. Richardson Jr., including first- and second-degree murder and the use of a handgun in the commission of a felony.
Richardson was ultimately denied bail and will continue to be held at the Harford County Detention Center.
According to police, Richardson killed his father in their Moores Mill Road home Monday night and dumped the body in a pond on property owned by a relative on Gilbert Road in Aberdeen. He was spotted driving a family vehicle hours later by state troopers and led three police departments on a chase through Bel Air which ended when he crashed into a structure outside the Bel Air Methodist Church on Linwood Avenue, fled on foot, and was apprehended in a nearby residential neighborhood.
Richardson said Wednesday that he was “not aware” whether he had received copies of the murder and weapons charges, but said he “did sign a lot of papers.” Assistant State’s Attorney Alison Carver said Richardson deliberately waived his Miranda Rights before making incriminating statements to the police and leading them to his father’s body.
Judge John L. Dunnigan followed the prosecution’s statement with some advice for the defendant. “I don’t want you saying anything, Mr. Richardson. Let your attorney do the talking for you.”
Carver said Richardson presented a danger to the community if released on bail, citing the detainee’s “high speed” flight from law enforcement early Tuesday morning, along with pending charges against Richardson in Juvenile Court of breaking and entering and possession of a controlled dangerous substance.
Carver and McChrystal both said they were “not aware” whether police had recovered the murder weapon. Harford County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Monica Worrell said police had recovered a weapon in connection with the case, but could not definitively say whether it was in fact the murder weapon, pending forensic testing.
A preliminary hearing in the case is set for Jan. 17 at 11 a.m. Richardson will be represented by Harford County Public Defenders Eric MacDonell and Thomas Ashwell.
MacDonnell said his office is working to evaluate Richardson’s competency, but declined to discuss the progress of the evaluation or the specific grounds for it. Such evaluations are common in cases of severe crimes.
Two female members of the Richardson family accompanied MacDonnell and an intern investigator to the attorney’s office in the courthouse following the hearing. Both relatives declined comment to reporters before and after the court session.