NORWICH – Michael D. Richardson, 36, formerly of Bainbridge, appeared in court Tuesday, charged with making a terroristic threat, a class D felony. By the end of the day, both District Attorney Joseph A. McBride and Richardson’s attorney had rested their cases, and a verdict is still pending as of this morning’s deadline.
It is alleged that Richardson – in July of last year and with the intent to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; influence the policy of a unit of government by intimidation or coercion; or affect the conduct of a unit of government by murder, assassination or kidnapping – placed threatening remarks in letters addressed to his estranged wife and mother-in-law stating his intent to perform acts of violence directed at a number of people including a judge, who, though not specifically named, is alleged to be recently retired Judge W. Howard Sullivan.
In the letter, which Richardson admitted to having written as well as mailed to his estranged wife and mother-in-law during his testimony Tuesday, Richardson describes how he wants to just “walk slowly up to the judge and place a .45 slug in between his eyes before jumping back into a stolen car.” The two letters contain a number of other remarks which could be construed as threatening as well, such as “these county offices are way too easy for me get my hands on.” Other people are also listed in the letters including employees of the county’s Child Services as well as a description of how Richardson could attain “high explosives” from an unspecified Newark, NJ, resident.
During Richardson’s grand jury indictment last August, a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf by the court pending the assignment of an attorney to represent him. Throughout the proceedings, Richardson’s attorney maintained that, although the defendant did indeed write the letters, he never intended for them to reach Judge Sullivan’s hands or for that matter anyone other than who the letters were addressed to. Not only that, but that the actions described in the letters were not meant to be taken literally and were little more then the written expression of Richardson’s frustrations. Richardson also testified that when he wrote about wanting to place a .45 slug in between the eyes of a judge, it was in fact Town of Bainbridge Judge Randall Lambrecht. Richardson testified that, despite having admitted it was Judge Sullivan whom he was referring to earlier in the letters when writing about mocking a judge in open court and telling them he would “deal with him” when he got out of jail in three months.