The first time Eric Richardson was charged with breaking into the home of an elderly South Toledo woman, assaulting her, and taking items from her home, the victim suffered a massive stroke before the case could go to trial and the charges were dropped.
Richardson, 37, of Weston, Ohio, was reindicted on the charges in November, but on Monday his victim again was not well enough to go to court for his trial. Without her testimony, prosecutors told Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Ruth Ann Franks, they had consented to a plea agreement that would keep Richardson from being sent to prison.
“The victim’s mental and physical health prevented her from being present in court, which is one of the most challenging aspects of prosecuting cases involving elderly victims,” Charles McDonald, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor and member of the senior protection unit, said after the hearing. “However, we try to do the best that we can under the circumstances.”
Richardson pleaded guilty to one count of burglary after admitting his part in the April 7, 2012, incident. While the charge carries the possibility of up to three years in prison, Mr. McDonald said he would recommend a sentence of community control with electronic monitoring and would ask the court to dismiss charges of felonious assault, aggravated robbery, and theft from an elderly person.
Mr. McDonald told the court the evidence would have shown that Richardson knocked on the door of the woman’s South Avenue home and refused to leave when she asked him to step down from her porch.
Richardson, whom the victim recognized from the neighborhood, then forced open the screen door, pushed his way in, struck the woman in the face, and knocked her to the floor.
Mr. McDonald said Richardson then went through the house and took some jewelry and cash before fleeing.
Richardson admitted he had done those things, although he said he did not take anything from the woman’s house.
“But you went into the house to look for things to steal?” Judge Franks asked. “You’re saying you never stole anything but that was your purpose in going in?”
“Yes, ma’am,” he said.
After accepting his plea and finding him guilty, Judge Franks scheduled sentencing for Feb. 18.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.