For nearly two decades the family of Richard Atkins Jr., has been looking for information into his 2003 death.
Atkins, 30, was found dead in his Westminster apartment by family members at about 12:30 p.m., Dec. 29, 2003, according to a police report.
On Tuesday, Maryland State Police announced that the family is now offering a $100,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in the case. In August 2021, Atkins’ family had offered a $20,000 reward for information in the killing.
Atkins lived in the Jones Manor apartment building in the 100 block of East Main Street, Westminster, and was found in his one-room apartment on the floor when police arrived at the scene. Police said an indentation on the back of Atkins’ head was consistent with “severe blunt force trauma resulting from a brutal assault.” Police also reported that Atkins’ wallet was found on the bed. Court records show that state medical examiners determined the cause of death as two head injuries.
Atkins was employed as a dishwasher at the Denny’s Restaurant on Route 140 and Englar Road at the time of his death.
Police charged a neighbor in January 2004 with Atkins’ murder, after they said the man confessed to the crime. The suspect, who was reported at the time to have mental disabilities, said he confessed to the killing because he believed it was the only way the police would allow him to go home. He was released due to the discovery of new evidence after spending nine months in jail.
According to investigators, whoever killed Atkins went to his apartment on or about Dec. 27, 2003 looking for money. “When Atkins declined the request, he was beaten with a blunt object before those responsible stole cash and DVDs from the apartment,” a police news release states.
Anyone with information may contact Sgt. Christopher Taylor of the Maryland State Police Cold Case Unit at 410-996-7881.