The trial for the Bel Air teenager accused of killing his father in their home and driving the body to an Aberdeen pond before leading police on a chase was postponed Thursday for a fifth time, and is now set to begin in February.
Robert C. Richardson, now 18, appeared briefly in Harford County Circuit Court Thursday following an extended, closed-doors conference between his defense counsel, prosecutors, and Judge Stephen Waldron. In court, Waldron said the meeting was held to work out issues related to the discovery process between the two sides.
Evidentiary motions hearings are scheduled for Jan. 27 to Jan. 30, with the trial set to begin Feb. 18, more than two years after Richardson, then 16, allegedly shot his father, Robert C. Richardson Jr., 58 in their Moores Mill Road home.
“I think everyone acknowledges we’re not ready,” Waldron said in court. “There’s no way either side could be ready to present what they need to present,” by the previously scheduled Dec. 2 trial date.
Richardson’s supporters have said that the delay in the trial is due in part to his original pro bono counsel, Marc Snyder of Baltimore, leaving the case. Public defenders Kay Beehler and Stefanie McArdle took over his defense but required time to familiarize themselves with the case and make their own motions, they said.
A handful of those supporters were present Thursday. Richardson, wearing his hair close-cropped and appearing much as he has throughout the various hearings over the last two years, was escorted from the courtroom past them and smiled, but offered no comment.
On Thursday, Beehler expressed optimism that the case would finally go to trial.
“I hope so,” she said.