Justice for Elton John Richard
Our longtime blogger buddy Chris pointed this sad story
out to us.
Elton John Richard, a US Marine who served two tours in Iraq, found a smalltime hood named Daniel Romero in his Albuquerque garage apparently trying to steal his Bronco. A fight ensued; Romero fled with Richard in pursuit, yelling to his neighbors to call 911. Richard eventually shot Romero to death; it is disputed as to whether this was in self-defense or as the crook tried to escape over a fence. Here's Richard's version of events
The motion states that Romero threatened that he and his "homies" would harm Richard and that Romero continued to attack Richard as he followed him, waiting for law enforcement to arrive.
"The fact that Romero was the constant aggressor in the situation was expressed by every single neighborhood witness that night," the motion states.
Prosecutors have said they believed Richard shot Romero as he scaled a fence about a quarter-mile from Richard's home.
Blackburn argues in the motion that after following Romero over the fence, Richard found himself cornered and that Romero suddenly swung around and raised his arm as if he was raising a firearm.
"Faced with such an immediate and impending threat from the man that Richard reasonably believed had attempted to invade his home, that was visibly under the influence of intoxicants, and had threatened Richard repeatedly, Romero was shot through the chest in self-defense," the motion states.
Prosecutors put the Marine on trial, originally for murder, although he eventually pled no contest to voluntary manslaughter. Judge Pat Murdoch sentenced Richard to two years in prison. In a measure of how worthless Romero's life was, he also required the Marine to pay restitution of $500 per month for the next four years.
Now, you know how it is. We should not have people chasing down smalltime hoodlums and shooting them. But two years in prison seems a pretty stiff sentence for doing society a favor, and even Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico, has called on the judge to reconsider his sentence. Richardson has also signaled his willingness to issue an order of clemency if Richard's family requests it. This would leave the conviction on his record. Assuming that what they claim is true, that Richard was simply following the man so that he would not get away, and that Romero was indeed attacking him while being pursued, he should receive a full and complete pardon.
Labels: Bill Richardson, Elton John Richard, New Mexico