The Bel Air home of the Robert C. Richardson family, whose patriarch was killed two years ago by his teenage son after what he claimed was years of abuse by his father, was sold Thursday morning at public auction for $115,000.
The highest bid, from a man who wouldn't give his name, was $115,000, with an additional 10 percent "buyer premium" of $11,500 to go to the auction firm, Jay Edwards & Associates of Bel Air.
The house, in the 800 block of Moores Mill Road, is on a heavily-traveled road where many passersby know the story of the murder of Robert C. Richardson Jr. and the guilty plea of his son, Robert C. Richardson III, who was 16 at the time of the January 2012 slaying.
About 60 spectators and potential buyers gathered on the snow and ice covered front lawn of the brick rancher, and vehicles could be seen parked in the yard and along nearby Majors Choice Drive. The group included some children in the company of the adults.
The weather was sunny with a few clouds, and temperatures were in the low 30s.
"We know you're going to have to do extensive renovations on the property, but it's a great corner location with a high visibility, so that's what you're buying here today," auctioneer Jay Edwards told the gathering before the auction started. He said about 25 people had registered to bid.
Edwards stressed that the house, which he said needs extensive interior renovations, was being sold "as is."
"The property is being sold as is, where is, in the existing condition with no warranties whatsoever other than we guarantee a clear title to the purchaser," he said, repeating himself: "Everything here at the property is being sold as is, are we clear? Let me see a nodding of your heads that you're buying the property as is today."
Robert Richardson III was arrested and charged with shooting his father to death inside the home on the evening of Jan. 9, 2012. The 58-year-old father's body was found the following morning, partially submerged in a pond on a relative's property in Aberdeen.
Arrested within hours of the killing, the younger Richardson, now 18, spent two years in jail before pleading guilty on Jan. 15 to charges of manslaughter and using a firearm while committing a violent felony.
A charge of second-degree murder was dropped, and Richardson, was sentenced to 30 years in prison, with all but 18 years suspended.
He is being held in the state's Patuxent Institution in Jessup, according to a Facebook page set up by his supporters, Free Robert (Bob) Richardson III.
Richardson claimed he shot his father after years of abuse, and many people rallied to his defense when the teenager was charged as an adult for the crime.
Thursday's sale was held to settle the elder Richardson's estate. His daughter Abigail has been named as the personal representative of the estate. Edwards had said in an earlier interview the house would be sold to the highest bid above $50,000.
After an opening bid of $60,000, the auction lasted about three minutes, until Edwards took the final offer of $115,000. Settlement is expected to occur within 45 days.
The man who purchased the property told The Aegis he did not want to be interviewed or have his name published.
Edwards said after the auction that the structure of the three-bedroom house is solid, but it needs a "total renovation" inside, including new systems such as HVAC, plumbing and electric. He noted some of the copper inside has been stolen.
Brian K. Young, a Bel Air lawyer who represents Abigail Richardson for the estate, attended the sale and said the proceeds are needed to settle the elder Richardson's estate.
"There are a few debts that need to be taken care of out of the proceeds before any distributions will be made," Young said.
Robert Richardson Jr. and Peggy Richardson are listed as the owners, according to online state property tax records.
They acquired the house and half-acre lot on Jan. 21, 2005, for no money from John S. Richardson in a non-arms-length transaction, which is the term used for sales made between friends and family members.
The value of the land and improvements for tax assessment purposes is listed as $228,800 effective July 1, 2014, down from $232,900 as of July 1, 2013.