Dallas, TX – Ray Williams III, brother of Mary Richardson: We are relieved that justice was served.
Bill Zeeble, KERA 90.1 Reporter: Ray Williams, Mary Williams Richardson's oldest brother, spoke for the family who'd waited in the 6th floor court room all week, and through the weekend, for the decision.
Williams: I saw no remorse at any time from him. That's a disturbing revelation. We feel sadness for his family and know it wasn't their fault.
Zeeble: The fault fell purely on Tim Richardson; and prosecutors, as well as jurors, also looked for remorse from Richardson, who sat for hours and hours next to his attorneys, head down, shoulders hunched, face expressionless. He teared when talking of his mother, who died last year of cancer. Presiding juror Tim Nunnery said he watched Richardson, and only saw his face change when the American Airlines clerk, who turned him in 2 weeks ago, took the stand.
Tim Nunnery, Presiding Juror: And he gave her a look. He just gave her a bad look
Zeeble: Possessed by her grief, sadness and confusion over the savage slaying, Mary Williams' mother stood after the sentence, and, flanked by her family, was allowed by the judge to read a prepared, blunt statement. She stood a few feet from Tim Richardson and said, "People think you are a loathsome coward...a cold calculating, conscienceless monomaniac. No one understands how such a lovely remarkable woman could be destroyed by absolute evil. The children have received the ultimate betrayal from the very person who is supposed to protect them from harm. Instead, you have perpetuated it, leaving them a legacy of dishonor, horror and shame." Ray Williams said Mary's three young children are doing well under the circumstances, cared for in a loving, secure environment by members of their family who have sued to terminate the father's parental rights. The family says in the months since the murder, the children have not once asked for their father, and, in fact, remain terrified of him. J.J. Smith understands what they may face. 41 years ago, his father murdered his mother, then committed suicide in front of him. Smith was 10.
J.J. Smith, trial spectator: Later in life, things will happen: anxiety, fear, bizarre antics no one can understand. It has a lot to do with suppressed anger and fear. The psychiatrist testified it will affect the Richardson kids all of their life.
Zeeble: That's why the Williams family and prosecutors demanded the maximum 99 year sentence. Defense attorneys had hoped for a lighter, second degree finding, using a sudden passion argument, which the jury rejected. Prosecutor Cindy Dyer said 60 years is good enough for her, and, she believes, the family
Prosecutor Cindy Dyer: They would have preferred 60 years than to have to do it all over again and put the kids through it again. And for purposes of parole, 60 years and life is the same. Both, you have a minimum of 30 years, day for day before you're eligible.
Zeeble: Though the trial is over, the after-effects of this case are not. A child advocate says bail should never have been an option for Tim Richardson and his vicious crime. She wants to change the law that allowed it. Jan Langbein, Executive Director of the Genesis Woman's Center, where Mary Richardson volunteered, plans to lobby the state legislature to eliminate or amend the sudden passion argument that might have lightened Richardson's sentence.
Jan Langbein, Executive Director, Genesis Women's Shelter: My concern is that dinner's not ready on time and that's enough. You say something unkind about my mother and that's enough. I can kill you and brutally, in front of my children.
Zeeble: Jurors said they'd agreed by Saturday that the killer deserved a first degree sentence, buying the prosecutor's arguments. But sentencing stretched into Sunday because one holdout sympathized with Richardson, for a while anyway. For KERA 90.1, I'm Bill Zeeble.