Updated Wed, Jul 24, 2013 7:38 am
UPDATE 3:16 p.m. A Glouster man who shot and killed an alleged burglar last month pleaded no contest Tuesday in Athens County Common Pleas Court to a felony charge of reckless homicide and a misdemeanor charge of negligent homicide.
As part of a plea bargain, Randy Richmond, 39 was sentenced by Judge George McCarthy to the prosecutor's diversion program. Richmond must also complete 60 hours of community service, cannot own a firearm and must pay $1,000 in restitution for funeral expenses.
The no contest plea was held in abeyance and if Richmond successfully completes the three-year diversion program the criminal case will be terminated.
If Richmond violates terms of the agreement he could face a five-year prison term.
Richmond shot and killed Keith "P.J." Rutter on June 20 near the residence of 18545 Taylor Ridge Road in Glouster after Rutter allegedly burglarized the home. Rutter, 34, was found dead at the edge of the woods behind the property owned by Ronnie G. Shover.
County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said Tuesday that Richmond did not intend to kill Rutter, but was trying to prevent him from fleeing. Rutter's mother was in court and was in agreement with the plea deal.
A Glouster man who shot and killed an alleged burglar last month is expected to plead guilty to charges today in Athens County Common Pleas Court.
According to a news release from the Athens County Prosecutor's Office, Randy Richmond, 39, is scheduled to appear before Judge George McCarthy for the purpose of a plea hearing to charges of reckless homicide, a third-degree felony, and negligent homicide, a first-degree misdemeanor.
Richmond shot and killed Keith "P.J." Rutter on June 20 near the residence of 18545 Taylor Ridge Road in Glouster after Rutter allegedly robbed the home. Rutter, 34, was found dead at the edge of the woods behind the property owned by Ronnie G. Shover.
Following the incident, Athens County Sheriff Patrick Kelly said the shooter — whose name was not publicly released at the time — would not be charged but Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn called for the sheriff's office to arrest Richmond "in the interest of public safety." Kelly declined to do so.
Since then, Blackburn has met with Richmond to discuss the incident. Blackburn and Kelly, however, have apparently not talked to each other about the case.
After media reports were published about the shooting, debate arose in the community and on social media of whether the Castle Doctrine — laws governing defense of home and property — should apply as well as whether Richmond should face charges for shooting an alleged burglar.
A Facebook page was created entitled "We support Randy Richmond" that has more than 1,700 "likes." More than 900 people have also signed an online petition asking for Richmond to not be charged.