Man in police standoff pleads guilty to assault with wife standing at his side

NORWICH – A Bainbridge man arrested for assaulting his wife after a three-hour standoff with police pleaded guilty Monday to a misdemeanor after his spouse fought to have the charges dropped, claiming her drug addiction was to blame.

“It was a case with the situation of having a reluctant victim, instead of one cooperating with the prosecution, to the point where her actions were becoming an impediment in prosecuting. The A misdemeanor and year in jail was a good result to the matter,” said District Attorney Joseph McBride.

Michael D. Richardson, 33, surrendered to New York State Police negotiators outside his residence on Dec. 10 in the Village of Bainbridge. He was originally charged with second degree assault, a felony.

Public Defender Diane M. DiStefano said the police response to the incident was blown out of proportion and that her client was struggling to deal with his wife’s worsening drug addiction and the erosion of his family. The couple has four young children who were placed into foster care following the standoff, said DiStefano.

The victim, Jennifer Richardson, who identified herself in written correspondence to The Evening Sun for the purposes of publication, also claimed her addiction to pain pills fueled the incident and urged leniency on her husband’s behalf. She has also made a number of similar pleas in Chenango County Court to officials requesting her husband be released.

“This is a case of a family basically being brought down by drugs. The wife went to rehab and did all she was supposed to do. Mr. Richardson was reacting to his wife destroying their family through her drug use. All the events leading to his arrest were exaggerated. He never held his wife hostage and he never had any weapons. They closed down the whole village of Bainbridge for hours for what turned out to be nothing more than a domestic disturbance and misdemeanor assault,” said DiStefano.

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