By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun
6:42 PM EST, March 8, 2013
Lawyers for a Harford County teenager charged with killing his father last year say they have evidence that two other juveniles were involved in the man's death.
At a hearing in Bel Air on Friday, lawyers for Robert C. Richardson III told Harford County Circuit Judge Stephen Waldron that they are seeking information on the two juveniles, including their criminal histories and school records.
The 17-year-old Richardson, who lived in Bel Air, is charged as an adult in the death of his father, Robert C. Richardson Jr., in January 2012. Police said the boy shot his father and left his body in a pond near his grandmother's home in Aberdeen. They also say he confessed to the killing.
The allegations that others were involved add a layer of complexity to a case that has attracted widespread interest. Charges laid out by police after the shooting have focused on Richardson alone, and attorneys in the case would say little about the role they believe the other juveniles played.
In court filings, Richardson's attorneys say the two juveniles discussed Friday are witnesses for the prosecution and have not been charged with any crime. The defense claims to have evidence that indicates the juveniles were involved in the elder Richardson's death "as co-defendants, and/or accessories after the fact."
"We have been told that both of them have extensive juvenile histories," as well as "serious drug and alcohol problems," public defender Stefanie McArdle told Waldron, who did not rule on the requests Friday.
The filing refers to the juveniles using only their first names and last initials. The Baltimore Sun does not generally identify people charged in the juvenile justice system.
Prosecutor Diane Adkins Tobin told the judge the state's attorney's office has no power to turn over juvenile records — which are confidential — or the juveniles' school records.
After the hearing, Tobin declined to comment on the defense's allegation that others were tied to the killing.
Both juveniles' homes were searched as part of the police investigation, according to filings by the defense.
The defense also had requested to know whether prosecutors offered immunity to juvenile witnesses or made any promises to them regarding the case. Tobin said they had not.
The case has attracted a number of supporters for Richardson. They contend he was mistreated by his father and say it is unjust for the teen to be tried as an adult. A group of about 20 people rallied before the hearing, as they have for Richardson's previous court appearances.
Some members of Richardson's family have denied that he was abused.
In court filings, McArdle and Richardson's other lawyer, Kay Beehler, have challenged the constitutionality of a Maryland law that requires 16- and 17-year-olds who are charged with first-degree murder to be tried as adults.
On Friday, they said they would also ask to have Richardson transferred to a juvenile detention center. He is being held at the Harford County Detention Center.
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