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  1. #1

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    Thomas Richardson - Nevada Death Row


    Thomas Richardson


    Facts of the Crime:

    Convicted and sentenced to death for beating to death a 91-year-old cancer survivor and her grandson with a claw hammer. Authorities said Thomas Richardson came to Las Vegas over the 2005 Labor Day weekend with his girlfriend’s teenage son, Robert Denhart, with a plan to rob and kill Steven Folker, who was staying with his grandmother, Estelle Feldman. Richardson was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder with use of a deadly weapon with one of the victims being 60-years or older and one count each of robbery with use of a deadly weapon, burglary with use of a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit robbery.

    Richardson was sentenced to death on September 2, 2009.

  2. #2

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    September 2, 2009


    LAS VEGAS — A Nevada jury decided that a 42-year-old California man should be put to death for killing a 91-year-old woman and her 43-year-old grandson with a claw hammer four years ago.
    The same jury that found Thomas Richardson guilty last week in the bloody slayings of Estelle Feldman and Steven Folker reached the death penalty verdict Wednesday.
    Richardson, of Riverside, Calif., apologized Tuesday for the Labor Day weekend 2005 slayings.
    Authorities say Richardson and his girlfriend's teenage son, Robert Denhart, planned to rob and kill Folker at Feldman's mobile home in Las Vegas.
    Denhart pleaded guilty in July to first-degree murder and testified against Richardson. Prosecutors agreed to recommend he get 24 to 80 years in prison.

    http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stori...;%20the%20west

  3. #3
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    Attorneys say death row inmate not at the scene of crime

    Defense lawyers say there is no evidence to show death row inmate Thomas Richardson was present when a 91-year-old woman and her grandson were beaten to death with a claw hammer in a mobile home in Las Vegas.

    Special Public Defenders David Schieck and JoNell Thomas told the Nevada Supreme Court they were limited in their closing argument at trial and that a key piece of evidence that could have helped the defense was destroyed.

    Chief Deputy District Attorney Pamela Weckerly argued Tuesday that Schieck was not permitted in his closing argument to talk about issues that were not presented at the trial. And Richardson was tied to one of the victims two hours before the crime. And the conviction should be upheld.

    Steven Folker was visiting his grandmother, Estelle Feldman from California, during Labor Day weekend in 2005. They were found murdered in Feldman’s three-bedroom trailer Sept. 10, beaten to death with a claw hammer, and Folker had been robbed of several hundred dollars.

    After the killing, Robert Dehnart pleaded guilty to murder and is serving a term of 20 to 50 years. His testimony at the trial that he was Richardson's partner in the crime was a key part of the prosecution’s case.

    The defense says there is nothing to back up Dehnart’s story. Schieck said Dehnart’s testimony is unbelievable. “His story is repelled by the physical evidence in the case,” he said.

    Thomas said the fingerprint and the blood at the crime scene tied Dehnart to the crime.

    Dehnart, who knew Folker, said he and Richardson drove to Las Vegas and intended to rob Folker and kill Feldman. He said he purchased the claw hammer but it was Richardson who used the weapon.

    Weckerly told the court that Schieck was unable in his closing argument to say that Richardson was not at the scene. Asked by the court if the exclusion of part of the planned closing argument was a violation of due process, she said it was not constitutional error. And if it was error, it was harmless because there was other evidence to tie Richardson to the killing.

    One controversial issue was a hat Richardson was reportedly wearing in the company of Folker two hours before the killing. A video tape was filmed of the two at a Taco Bell.

    A similar hat was found at the crime scene. Before the video tape was uncovered, the hat was destroyed by police who believed it belonged to the victim.

    Weckerly said the two hats were the same. But Thomas argued that the defense never had a chance to do a DNA test to show it wasn’t the same hat.

    Thomas said there was no evidence to connect Richardson to the crime except the hat. “Good detective work was not done,” she said.

    Weckerly said there was other evidence to convict Richardson, whom she added has “an extensive violent history” of robbery and sexual assault.

    The court took the arguments under submission and will rule later.

    http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012...t-scene-crime/
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  4. #4
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    Death penalty upheld for man in Las Vegas hammer killings

    The Nevada Supreme Court, in a 5-2 decision, has upheld the murder conviction and death penalty sentence for Thomas Richardson in the hammer slaying and robbery of two people in Las Vegas.

    Richardson and Robert Dehnart agreed in September 2005 to rob and murder Steve Folker, who was at the home of Estelle Feldman, also killed with hammer blows to the head, records show.

    Dehnart, who was the 18-year old son of Richardson’s girlfriend, agreed to testify against Richardson as part of a plea deal. He was sentenced to 20 to 50 years for first-degree murder and a consecutive 4 to 30 year term for robbery.

    Chief Justice Michael Cherry dissented in the ruling, saying evidence against Richardson “was not overwhelming” and errors at trial required the conviction be overturned and a new trial ordered. Justice Nancy Saitta agreed with Cherry.

    Richardson maintained he was in California at the time of the murders.

    But the court’s majority opinion said the trial testimony of Dehnart “is sufficiently corroborated,” and substantial evidence supports the jury verdict.

    The court said District Court Judge Michelle Leavitt was wrong in not permitting the defense in closing arguments to maintain Dehnart was lying to receive a lighter sentence.

    But the court called it harmless error.

    Cherry, in his dissent, said defense attorneys should have been allowed to argue that Richardson had returned to California before the time of the murder.

    “As there was conflicting evidence of this crucial fact and no physical evidence placing Richardson in the home or even in the state at the time of the murders, (defense) counsel’s argument became much more vital to the defense,” Cherry wrote.

    Cherry also wrote that evidence at the crime scene was mishandled, and a replica of the hammer used in the killing should not have been introduced at the trial.

    http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012...mmer-killings/
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  5. #5
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    In today's United States Supreme Court orders, Richardson's petition for writ of certiorari was DENIED.

    Lower Ct: Supreme Court of Nevada
    Case Nos.: (54951)
    Decision Date: November 9, 2012
    Rehearing Denied: December 19, 2012
    A uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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