Updated Fri, Oct 11, 2013 4:42 pm
A Vinton County man who has been the main person of interest for more than a year in and investigation into the murder of a Hamden woman was indicted on Thursday.
Richard "Moose" Puckett, 46, of McArthur, was indicted by a Vinton County grand jury on first-degree felony charges of aggravated murder with a gun specification, murder with a gun specification and aggravated burglary with a gun specification as well as a third-degree felony charge of tampering with evidence.
The charges stem from an investigation by the Vinton County Sheriff's Office in conjunction with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation that started in March of 2012. The body of Robin A. Waldren, 46, was discovered at a property, 32567 Carpenter Road in Richland Twp., reported to belong to Tina Puckett — Richard Puckett's estranged wife. Waldren had been reported missing and endangered, according to previous Messenger reporting.
A list of persons of interest was maintained by the sheriff's office, but Puckett's name surfaced after he was arrested on an unrelated case.
"We believed we had enough to hold him on the charges then but we were waiting on lab results," Vinton County Sheriff Shawn Justice told The Messenger on Friday. "But then he tried to escape and got nine years on that charge which gave us the chance to take our time and get everything together."
Tapes from Vinton County 9-1-1 include a call in which a friend of Tina Puckett told dispatchers about returning to Richard Puckett's Carpenter Road residence on March 1 where she and Tina Puckett discovered blood on sheets inside the home. They also found a bloody quilt on a road outside the home. Tina Puckett is heard in the background crying for help.
The friend said Waldren was missing and "there's blood everywhere," according to previous reporting.
During the investigation into Waldren's death, Richard Puckett was taken from the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail to Athens for a polygraph test. Upon his return to jail, he attacked the Vinton County sheriff's deputy who was transporting him, going after the officer's gun and eventually gaining control of the transport vehicle. Puckett would wreck the vehicle shortly thereafter and was re-apprehended.
Puckett was charged with robbery, grand theft, assault of a peace officer and escape following the incident. He pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to nine years in prison.
He was not charged in Waldren's death until Monday's indictment. The sheriff's office served Puckett with the indictment the same day.
"We had been sending different pieces of evidence to (the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation), but we could only send a few pieces at a time," Justice said Friday. "More evidence came back and the prosecutor decided now was the time to pursue this case."
Vinton County Prosecutor Trecia Kimes-Brown was not available for comment Friday morning.