Members of the community are continuing to raise money and offer support to a 16-year-old Bel Air boy who police say confessed to killing his father in early January.
Eileen Siple, who runs the "Free Robert (Bob) Richardson III" Facebook page, says she has gone as far as to contact a well-known parricide expert to see if he would be interested in getting involved in the case. She heard about Paul Mones through a comment on the Facebook page, Siple said Saturday, and decided to e-mail him.
"He is like the parricide guru," she said. "He definitely has more experience than anybody in the United States with parricide."
Robert C. Richardson III, of the 800 block of Moores Mill Road, is charged with first- and second-degree murder, as well as the use of a firearm in a felony violent crime, in connection with the death of his father, Robert C. Richardson Jr.
After e-mailing Mones to explain the case, Siple said she forwarded the conversation to Marc Snyder, a Baltimore lawyer who is representing Richardson. She wasn't sure if Snyder's firm had already contacted Mones, Siple added, but a couple of weeks ago, the lawyer did say Mones had joined the defense team.
Since Mones became involved, Siple said, many of the supporters have been looking him up online and even purchased his book on parricide to get more familiar with him.
The community has also been donating to an online WePay account set up to raise money for all legal expenses related to the trial. Checks can also be sent to Snyder at 1829 Reisterstown Road, Suite 100 in Baltimore, Siple said, under the memo line "Defense Fund/Robert Richardson III."
As of Saturday morning, the WePay site had $4,790 in donations, but a helpful factor, Siple said, is that Snyder is taking the case pro bono.
They are also hopeful that some of the experts will consult at reduced rates, she said.
Siple recently started a petition as well to convince the Harford County State's Attorney's Office to drop the first-degree murder charge and so far, there are nearly 600 signatures.
"All any of us really are asking for is that the first-degree murder charges be dropped so that he can be tried as a juvenile," she said. "We just want this boy to have a chance."
The petition site has been running for about a week now, she added, and they are anxious to hear from the State's Attorney's Office.
When Richardson was indicted last month, Harford State's Attorney Joseph Cassilly noted that there is no provision in state law for trying a 16-year-old as a juvenile who has been charged with first degree murder.
Supporters also a fundraiser for Richardson at MacGregor's Restaurant in Havre de Grace in early February, but they do not have any upcoming ones scheduled yet because they are waiting for the weather to become stable, Siple said.
Domani Salon and Spa, in Bel Air, is donating 20 percent of proceeds to Richardson, if visitors request it, and supporters are selling bumper stickers and Mary Kay items to help raise funds, Siple said.
As of right now, the trial prosecutor for the case is Melissa Lambert, with Cassilly serving as the chief prosecutor, as he does with all cases, Cassilly wrote in an e-mail Thursday.
Richardson, a freshman at C. Milton Wright High School, allegedly shot his father late on the night of Jan. 9. Harford County sheriff's deputies were called to the Richardson home in 800 block of Moores Mill Road that evening, but did not find the younger Richardson under the next morning, where he led them on a brief car chase before crashing his vehicle into a wall near a Bel Air church.
His father's body was found partially submerged in a pond near a relative's home in Aberdeen, according to police. Richardson waived his right to a preliminary hearing in Harford County District Court on Jan. 17 and was criminally indicted on Feb. 14 in Harford County Circuit Court.
An arraignment scheduled for Feb. 27 was canceled and a scheduling conference is set for March 13. Richardson is currently being held at the Harford County Detention Center without bond.
Check back with http://www.exploreharford.com for updates to this developing story.