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911 calls released in Marine murder case

Posted September 23, 2009

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— A 22-year-old Marine based at Camp Lejeune told a 911 operator that he wrote a suicide note explaining why he reportedly strangled his 21-year-old wife.

"It pretty much explains the situation," Cpl. Cody Daniel Richardson says in a recording of the call released Wednesday, the same day he was discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps.

Richardson, of Carroll, N.H., was arrested Monday and charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of his wife, Jessy.

The 911 call. edited by authorities, doesn't indicate why he might have killed her and does not include any direct admission of guilt, but it does suggest that Richardson had also been planning to kill himself.

"I was," he tells the dispatcher. "I was going to follow through on it last night, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it."

The operator stays on the line with Richardson for the remainder of the call, instructing him what to do as a police officer arrives at the couple's apartment.

"I have no intention of causing anyone any harm," he says. "I see a police officer coming now."

Jacksonville police cited a state law, which states any names, victims or addresses are not public record, for editing the calls.

In a second 911 call released Wednesday, a man claiming he used to be in the military with Richardson said that Richardson stopped by his house and also confessed to the crime.

"I don't know if he's joking or if he's telling the truth, but he has completely freaked me out and told me that he has killed his wife," the caller said. "He had this note that appeared to be a suicide note, saying that he did it and that he had strangled her."

"He said he wasn't joking, and I said, 'Just get out of my house,'" the caller continued.

Jacksonville Police Chief Michael Yaniero said Jessy Richardson's death was the result of a domestic dispute and that, even though Cody Richardson confessed to strangling her, investigators are awaiting autopsy results on the exact cause of death.

Yaniero said it appeared that she had been dead at least 24 hours before investigators arrived at the scene.

Richardson, who is in jail in Jacksonville under a $1 million bond, was an anti-tank missile man assigned to Camp Lejeune's 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division.

He joined the Marine Corps in August 2006 and was promoted to corporal in May 2008, after spending six months in Iraq.

Richardson was "administratively separated" from the Marine Corps Wednesday, meaning he has received an "other than honorable discharge," according to Camp Lejeune.

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  • Caroline Marie Sep 24, 2009

    I thought NC did have the death penalty. Kinda slow about carrying it out at times, but I know we had it and then they stopped it and then they restarted it.....

  • cth1 Sep 24, 2009

    I like the way people turn their attention to the Marine Corps and start bashing them for "not wanting to take the time or money to prosecute this guy". He will be brought before the courts.... Marines..or civilian. I don't blame the Marines at all. He obviously did something wrong to be discharged and I doubt it was because he killed his wife. Sounds like something else was going on with this guy. Like someone said in an earlier post....it takes more than 48 hours to be discharged.

    I hope justice is served in this case and my prayers go out to both families!!

  • Nunya123 Sep 23, 2009

    They certainly processed that separation extremely quickly (2 days, 911 call on Monday and out of the service by Wednesday?)leading me to believe that he may have already been in the process of being released. The commander didn't even have sufficent time to talk with JAG to find out the best course of action and process orders. In all of my time in service I have never seen anyone get processed out in 48 hours or less

    Really wonder if he was being separated and that was what triggered it.

  • Tarheelfan13 Sep 23, 2009

    See that is where everything is confusing DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-Not. In a sense anyone who is active duty member is technically federal property which means the federal authorities could order the DA or state judge or sheriff to surrender a military member in the states custody if push came to shove to use an old expression. The gist though is that it is almost as if the military prefers to see the state prosecute because it saves the federal government time and resources. And by discharging someone it is almost as if the military is basically pushing off a a person with a problem situation and wiping their hands clean. It seems that is the modern way of the military doing business. If this was over 50 years ago than I would not be surprised if this young man would be facing a court martial.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Sep 23, 2009

    There was the case of the military member in Fayetteville that raped and murdered someone's wife and children about 20+ years ago. The military reinstated him so they could go after the death penalty. Did that murder occur on the base?

    I wish the military had not discharged him and had jurisdiction for this case. North Carolina doesn't have a Death Penalty. But the military in North Carolina DOES.

  • Tarheelfan13 Sep 23, 2009

    Actually, all active duty personnel are under the Uniform Code of Military Justice which means that no matter where in the world a military member is physically that they are still under jurisdiction of military law. Yes, the civil authorities have jurisdiction because it happened off base to a non military member. But the military could have still conducted a court martial but there was a Supreme Court ruling in the 1960s I believe that basically did state something to the effect that a military member could not be court martialed if a crime was committed off base and off duty against a non military member.
    So the defense counsel could have put up that as a defense challenge possibly if he was court martialed.

  • LovinMyLife Sep 23, 2009

    Good, I'm glad he no longer serves our country through military duty. I do not want a wife killer protecting our country.

  • rjernigan6 Sep 23, 2009

    Tarheelfan that is not the translation at all. The Marine Corps has no jurisdiction here as it happened of base. This is a matter for civilian authorities. The Marine Corps would have no problem prosecuting this individual if it were in their jurisdiction. The sad thing is what provoked this Marine to snap and kill his wife. I feel for the family of the young woman and for the family of the Marine. Combat does funny things to people.

  • Tarheelfan13 Sep 23, 2009

    Translation: We do not want to put forth the effort to court martial the individual.