Bel Air teen waives right to hearing in murder case

  • Robert Conley Richardson III, 16, of Bel Air, has been charged as an adult with murder 1st degree, murder 2nd degree and use of a firearm in the commission of a fellony crime of violence in connection with the death of his father. A District Court Judge ordered Richardson held in jail on no bail Wednesday.
Robert Conley Richardson III, 16, of Bel Air, has been charged… (Harford County Sheriff's…)
January 17, 2012

It took two minutes and eight seconds for Robert Conley Richardson III, the 16-year-old C. Milton Wright High School freshman accused of murdering his father in their Bel Air house last Monday night, to waive his right to a pre-trial hearing on the charges.

Much of that time was spent with Eric MacDonnell, Richardson's public defender, going through the formality of publicly asking Richardson a series of questions, so the teenager could state in the open courtroom that he was waiving his right to a hearing that would require the prosecution to prove it has enough evidence to hold him over for trial.

"It's a very low standard," MacDonnell explained to Richardson about the burden on the state to produce sufficient evidence to guarantee it had enough to warrant a trial. MacDonnell then asked Richardson if he understood that and whether he understood he was waiving his right to a hearing.

"Yes, sir," Richardson, who was dressed in the hideous thick black and white horizontal striped garb Harford jail inmates wear, answered.

There wasn't any other discussion of the case involving Richardson, a slightly-built teen, who court records say is 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs 130 pounds, but somehow looks smaller.

Richardson has been held without bail in the Harford County Detention Center since he was arrested Jan. 10 on charges he shot his father to death in the house they shared in the 800 block of Moores Mill Road in Bel Air.

Two days after the teen was arrested, the Harford County Sheriff's Office was called back to the vacant Richardson residence for a report of a breaking and entering. A nephew of the murder victim called police at 8:44 a.m. Jan. 12 to report the vacant house had been burglarized. When they arrived, deputies didn't find anyone in the house.

The day before, deputies were called to the Richardson house at 1:24 p.m. for a report of "a suspicious condition," according to a police report.

When deputies arrived, one of the deputies "advised that he observed a male jump out of a blue pickup truck and run behind the shed to the side of the residence then run up to the house," the police report says. The deputy "further advised that he lost sight of the truck and never observed the male subject come from behind the residence," the report said. "Deputies on scene checked the residence … and the residence was secured."

The night of the murder, Jan. 9, police said the teen shot his father, hauled his body into an older model Chevy S10 Blazer, drove to Gilbert Road in Aberdeen where he dumped the body along the edge of a pond behind the house where the brother of the deceased lives and then drove away. Early the next morning, police spotted the suspect's car and a chase ensued, ending when the teen crashed into a block wall at Bel Air United Methodist Church on Linwood Avenue.

After he was captured, police said the teen confessed to killing his father.

The night-long episode for police began when the Harford County Sheriff's Office responded to the Richardson residence at about 10:45 p.m. Jan. 9 for a report of a domestic disturbance.

"While en route, dispatch advised the disturbance was physical and may involve a weapon," according to a police report.

"Upon arrival," the report says that a deputy whose identity was redacted from the report, "familiar with the residence, observed that the main vehicle used by the father of this residence was not on the scene."

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