Court reverses 1989 murder conviction Randallstown man had been on death row

November 13, 1991|By Joel McCord | Joel McCord,Sun Staff Correspondent

ANNAPOLIS — An article in The Sun Wednesday incorrectly reported when Art Richardson was convicted of the murder of a Randallstown man and the rape of his wife. Richardson was convicted in April 1990. The article also said Mr. Richardson is from Randallstown. In fact, he is from New York.

The Sun regrets the errors.

ANNAPOLIS -- The Court of Appeals overturned yesterday the conviction and death sentence of a Randallstown man for murdering his neighbor and raping the man's wife three times.

The trial judge allowed the jury to hear statements allegedly made by the defendant, Art Richardson, filtered through two of his friends and two Baltimore County detectives. Maryland's highest court called that "multiple levels of hearsay" that were so "egregious" that "we must order a new trial."

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

But S. Ann Brobst, head of criminal prosecutions in Baltimore County, worried that it might be difficult to hold another trial because the rape victim, who has left Maryland, may not want to go through another trial.

"I always hate to pick up the phone and call the victim and say we've got to do it all over again," she said but added, "I wouldn't want to take a chance on his release."

Mr. Richardson was convicted in October 1989 of entering an open sliding balcony door of the seventh-floor apartment next to his at Cedar Towers off Reisterstown Road, shooting the man four times and raping the woman while her infant daughter slept in the next room.

According to court records, the couple, identified only as Amy and Steve, awoke in the middle of the night Nov. 14, 1987, to find a man brandishing a gun at the foot of their bed. Steve bolted into the hallway, followed by the intruder who fired several shots.

Amy ran to the kitchen to call police but was waylaid by the intruder who dragged her back into the bedroom and raped her, then left. He returned as Amy was again trying to get to the telephone in the kitchen. He forced her into the bedroom, tied her up, blindfolded her and raped her again.

He watched television in the woman's room, then raped her a third time.

The woman at first told police she had been raped by three men, then decided it was only one man and picked a picture of Mr. Richardson, who had lived next door with two other men, from an array of photos on her second try.

At the trial, which was moved to Somerset County, Circuit Judge Lloyd L. Simpkins allowed one detective to read from the report of another detective who said that one of the suspect's friends told him that another friend told him that Mr. Richardson had hinted that he had committed the murder.

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