Jailhouse reports: Richardson 'incited' inmates, threatened detention officer
Posted April 1
Smithfield, N.C. — Jail documents detail numerous behavioral problems of Jonathan Douglas Richardson while he awaited trial for the murder of 4-year-old Teghan Skiba, including accusations that he incited inmates and threatened to stab a detention officer, according to a forensic psychologist's testimony Tuesday in the sentencing phase of his trial.
Richardson could face the death penalty after a jury, last week, found him guilty of not only murdering the girl but physically and sexually abusing her during a 10-day period prior to her July 19, 2010, death.
Defense attorneys have portrayed the 25-year-old as a mentally damaged man who was a product of child abuse and whose experiences of being improperly disciplined caused him to believe that the physical abuse he inflicted upon Teghan – whom he loved – was OK.
Her death, the defense has said, was the result of uncontrolled anger and was not intentional.
Defense witness Matthew Mendel, the psychologist who met with Richardson several times after his arrest, said during cross-examination Tuesday that Richardson told him that Teghan – his ex-girlfriend's daughter – called him "daddy" and that he even went as far as having her name and birthdate tattooed on his arm when he was in jail.
"It was a life-changing event for me. I lost my daughter," Mendel quoted Richardson from a conversation they had about the girl's death.
The state, however, has argued that Richardson knew exactly what he was doing when he tortured and terrorized the girl to fulfill his "sadistic desires."
In cross-examining Mendel, Johnston County prosecutors also had him read from the jailhouse reports that detailed some of Richardson's misconduct.
Despite mood-stabilizing medication and several lockdowns, one lieutenant wrote: "We do not know what to do with him. We keep locking him down, but it does no good."
Superior Court Judge Thomas Lock, however, would not allow the jury to hear about other behavior, deeming it highly prejudicial.
Outside the jury's presence, Mendel read that Richardson "incited other inmates to do his dirty work" and threw feces and urine.
Sandy Penny, the longtime live-in girlfriend of Richardson's father, took the stand Tuesday to refute the defense’s claims that Richardson’ suffered abuse from a rage-filled, single father. She testified that she never saw any signs of improper discipline from Doug Richardson.
"Jonathan had a good home. He had the best of both worlds. He had his mom every other weekend," Penny said. "He had his dad every day, and the other weekends, they went fishing all the time – all the time."
"Was Doug a good father?" Assistant District Attorney Greg Butler asked.
"Yes," Penny said, tearfully.
The state is expected to call at least one more rebuttal witness before closing arguments, which could begin as early as Wednesday afternoon.