Local News

Richardson conviction reignites death penalty debate

Posted March 25, 2014

— Jonathan Richardson’s conviction Tuesday of sexually and physically abusing and then killing his ex-girlfriend’s four-year-old daughter has reignited the debate whether to institute the death penalty in North Carolina.

A set of legal challenges have led to a de facto moratorium on the death penalty. About 150 people are currently on death row in North Carolina. The state’s last execution was in 2006.

Ken Rose, who represents about a third of those on death row, understands those who support the death penalty after a case like Richardson’s, where graphic details were presented and seasoned law enforcement officers were brought to tears.

“It's a different thing, however, to say that the state, after years and years of appeals, when we have someone incapacitated in prison, that we should kill that person and we should spend a lot of money extra to do it,” he said.

Wayne Uber, whose brother was killed in another state in 1995, supports the death penalty.

“Each and every murder case should be tried individually on its own merits using evidence, testimony, logic and fact that are directly related to the case,” he said.

As for the Richardson case, Uber hopes to see one thing.

“I just want to encourage the jury to carefully consider what the family of the victim wants,” he said.

The sentencing phase in Richardson’s case starts Wednesday.


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  • Lightfoot3 Mar 26, 2014

    "I’m not sure that I agree that killing someone is a worse punishment" - JustOneGodLessThanU

    I certainly don't agree that it's worse punishment, but it's still a valid punishment.

  • Jane Tuohey Mar 26, 2014
    user avatar

    "We can't support State killing with the number of wrongful convictions that exist" - lynne0312

    Oh really? I know "we" is the people but Lynne you are one of the few that feel this way about this monster.... Either way, he, like us, will have to answer for everything... For me it is super hard to wrap my head around this man not getting the death penalty for this evil crime as we know 100% he is guilty. I sincerely hope that he feels remorse one day for the horrendous things he did to an innocent child.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Mar 26, 2014

    Lightfoot3 said, “I don't care if it deters or not, it certainly PUNISHES the criminal for their actions.”

    I’m not sure that I agree that killing someone is a worse punishment. The saying “You’re going to wish you were dead” means something to people. How is a dead person being punished?...dead is dead...the brain is OFF...it can't feel mental or physical pain...like being knocked unconscious.

    And, some people even choose death (suicide) to escape from pain.

    And, we use the phrase “kicking a dead horse” to demonstrate futility.

    On the other hand, I think LWOP murders should be put in a windowless concrete cell with the least amount of human interaction and just (very) basic food & water. That seems more like a punishment that would deter folks. IMO

  • Jason Merrill Mar 26, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    This is full of sooooo much win. WRAL will not let me accurately describe a fitting punishment for this monster, but the little needle followed by a drop off to sleep is way too good for Richardson.

  • Jason Merrill Mar 26, 2014
    user avatar

    It certainly doesn't act as ANY sort of deterrent for future murders. Just look at the numbers and you - JustOneGodLessThanU

    No, but it certainly punishes this monster. If executed I can guarantee he will no longer murder and torture an innocent little child ever again. You have such compassion for Richardson, where is the compassion for Teghan? She was not spared a cruel and unusual punishment, why should he be spared and allowed to live? What makes him worthy of living?

  • EricaSliver Mar 26, 2014

    I do agree he needs to be sentenced to death...however I have a huge problem with the amount of time (maybe 20 years) he will most likely spend on death row...living comfortably...out of general population. His death will be quick and painless...and that isn't justice for what he did to Teghan. Our prison system is way too plush. He needs to sit in a tiny cement cell just big enough so he can barely move around...be given rice and tap water once a day...not allowed to see daylight until his execution. And even that is too good for him.

  • Lightfoot3 Mar 26, 2014

    "“A recent study published by a Duke University economist revealed North Carolina could save $11 million annually if it dropped the death penalty." - JustOneGodLessThanU

    If we removed all the ridiculous appeals and delays, executed them quickly, and more simply, it would save much more than what it costs to house them for life.

    "murders are higher in states with the death penalty" - JustOneGodLessThanU

    True or not, I doubt there's any correlation between the two.

    "We can't support State killing with the number of wrongful convictions that exist" - lynne0312

    That's part of the broken system that needs to be fixed. In other words, we need to get tough on corruption and dishonest cops/DA too.

  • tigersnpirates6389 Mar 26, 2014


    I totally agree !!!

  • 82ndAAHeel Mar 26, 2014


    Please don't use "numbers". There are too many factors to consider in between "death penalty and non death penalty states". Demographics, population, urban sprawl. People always "find" a way to make statistics, polls and surveys work to fit their argument. I respect your argument, but your evidence is flawed.

    My own opinion as to whether this man deserves the death penalty is not decided and actually not important. Just like everyone here. We all scream for justice but the first step is prevention. We are a lazy and reactive society. Until we become proactive in improving ourselves as a civilization, it will not matter. Praying things go in circles, and my grandchildren (my own child is 7) generation will demand higher standards in regards to human behavior.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Mar 26, 2014

    Is cutting Government Spending important to you? How would you like NC to save $11 Million...every year?

    “A recent study published by a Duke University economist revealed North Carolina could save $11 million annually if it dropped the death penalty.

    Two-year costs (2005-2006) were summed up as follows:

    -Extra defense costs for capital cases in trial phase $13,180,385

    -Extra payments to jurors $224,640

    -Capital post-conviction costs $7,473,556

    -Resentencing hearings $594,216

    -Prison system $169,617

    -Total $21,642,414”